Smollenksy’s has been proudly serving Londoners on The Strand for over 20 years and feeding the bankers of Canary Wharf too. They’ve recently shaken up their menu and I was kindly invited to come down and try their dinner offering.
We were greeted straight away and led downstairs, which is surprisingly large and roomy. One thing I really liked is that they hadn’t crammed all the tables in close together – something a lot of London restaurants are guilty of. We went to grab some cocktails at the bar – Tommy on the bar was immediately welcoming, chatty and obviously knowledgeable about his trade. Straight away he asked us what we usually like in cocktails and offered to whip up a Dark and Stormy for me – my favourite – despite it not being on the menu. It was a lovely touch and it was a great Dark and Stormy made with proper Fentiman’s ginger beer rather than the flavourless cheap stuff that you sometimes get.
Never ones to say no to prosecco, we took them up on their offer of bottomless fizz after we’d arrived at our table – top ups of which were incredibly generous and prompt throughout the entire evening. For starter I chose the Cajun calamari which came with chipotle mayo. It was really well-cooked and was a nice change from the usual plain calamari/mayo combination. Paul had the chicken wings which were very saucy and messy!
We both ended up going for the sticky BBQ pork ribs for main and oh my goodness, the portion size was HUGE. No joke, one of the biggest portions of ribs I’ve ever had. There was two massive racks and manoeuvring food on the plate without anything falling off the other side took some real skill! The ribs didn’t quite fall off the bone but the sauce was tasty and you certainly couldn’t complain at portion size! The skin-on fries were really good too, though I didn’t really need them with that much meat!
I smartly decided halfway through to stop eating ribs and ask for a doggy bag to take home (I have no shame and hate wasting food!), just to make sure that I saved room for the salted caramel chocolate brownie that I had my (greedy) eyes on. I’m glad I did, the chocolate brownie was dusted with icing sugar and served with chocolate sauce, a Flake, mint leaves and vanilla ice cream. It was gooey and chocolatey – everything you want from a chocolate brownie.
The atmosphere was very relaxed with bluesy American music and the service was absolutely faultless, nothing was too much effort and Niko, our waiter, was particularly attentive and friendly. Smollenksy’s is definitely the kind of place that you could come for drinks with friends after work for some relaxed cocktails, a catch up and a pre-night out dinner, especially with the £15 bottomless prosecco add-on which is great value when they’re so generous and quick with their refills.
I was a guest of Smollensky’s for dinner but as always the opinion is 100% mine.
Nearest tube: Temple/Covent Garden