Smithfield and Farringdon are both among the best developing food areas in town at the moment, with recent openings Polpo, Burger & Lobster, the Longroom and a great looking Byron all revitalising the area. Even Smiths of Smithfield has just gone through a major revamp and now there's another big new restaurant on the way.
Alan Bird is probably best known by many for heading up the kitchen in the Ivy for over 15 years. He's now starting up his own venture called Bird of Smithfield, which is being billed as being like "a members club with no membership required." It's set across five floors with a bar, restaurant, private dining room and a terrace overlooking Smithfield Market. With the people behind Purl in charge of the bar, it should be something special.
We caught up with Alan Bird to find out more...
After being at the the Ivy for many years - what made you decide to launch your own venture in Smithfield?
I left the Ivy in 2010 after 18.5 years and since then I've worked for Soho House and the Birley Group. My partners & I have the same vision of what we want to achieve so it feels a very natural progression. Both mine and my business partners grandfathers were butchers and spoke fondly about Smithfield market in its former glory. We were naturally drawn to it and the love the area.
And what can we expect across the five floors?
There will be a different feel and offer on each floor, but all are intrinsically linked. The ground floor will be the point of entry into our bar & lounge area by one entrance and either the upper floors or basement by the other. The bar & lounge will have a more relaxed food on offer including bar snacks, small plates & dishes and a small selection of sandwiches. This will run alongside a drinks offer of draught cask ales & bottled beers, wines by the glass and cocktail menu.
A similar offer will also be available in the basement bar (Birdcage) which will also be available for private hire and events. The Birdcage also has a small stage area.
The first floor will be more of a traditional restaurant offer with seasonal dishes, specials, plated meals and table service. The second floor is where the private dining room with a development/open kitchen is housed. This will also be available for private hire and events.
The roof terrace will have a relaxed atmosphere overlooking the market vista with light snacks & drinks available. We will also offer a small selection of cigars carefully selected, kept in their own humidor and supplied by the Mount Street cigar shop. This area will also available for private hire.
As for the food, there will be a mixture of modern and classic British food using seasonal produce and thoughtfully and responsibly sourced meat and fish delivered daily.
And we see you're working with the people behind Purl for the bar, can you tell us anything about that?
We'd love to tell you but we need to keep a few surprises up our sleeve for when we open!
Bird of Smithfield opens on May 1 on 26 Smithfield Street London EC1A 9LB.