Not just because of the standard of food it delivers but also because the interiors are exceptional. Designed by the much sought after Martin Brudnizki, whose eponymous design studio is currently thriving, Smith & Wollensky is an instant classic. From the glamorous reception through to the 1920s-inspired artworks on the walls, Smith & Wollensky evokes all the elegance and timeless appeal of the brand's other restaurants across the pond. And in America, Smith & Wollensky is a well-known and well-loved institution. Here the restaurant is housed in the beautiful Adelphi Building, which is a stone's throw from The Savoy, and the space is vast; over 15,000 sq.ft., set over two floors with seating for 270 diners (this includes three private dining and meeting rooms) and space for a further 30 in the two bars. Huge spaces like these can be difficult to give personality to but according to Martin Brudnizki, "The Grade II listed iconic Adelphi Building possessed a natural personality and served as a great source of inspiration. From this we were able to draw on certain classic elements within the design, for example adding art-deco touches through the flooring and artwork, to channel the grandeur of the space and give the restaurant a timeless identity of its own." Art-deco styling is always a good way to give a venue a sense of elegance and whilst this is in keeping with some of the brand's American sites, it's by no means their trademark. In fact, the company was established during the mid 1970's, forty plus years after the golden age of art-deco design. So, much of the design has been influenced by the Adelphi Building itself and not the restaurant brand. "We’ve retained certain elements that are synonymous with the Smith & Wollensky brand, such as the green colour palette, branded awning and the touches of classic ‘Americana’ continues Brudnizki. "However each of the American sites look so individual themselves, we were able to design the space as its own entity with a contemporary quintessentially British twist."
Smith & Wollensky, Adelphi Building, 1-11 John Adam Street, London WC2. www.smithandwollensky.co.uk
At the heart of every Smith & Wollensky is the dry-ageing process and London is no different with both a dry-ageing room and a butchery on-site for true field to fork traceability. Selected from the top 2% of beef in the US for its rich and even marbling, the USDA Prime is dry-aged for no less than 28 days to intensify flavour and increase tenderness. USDA Prime steaks range from 21oz NY cut bone-in sirloin to 24oz Cajun marinated bone-in rib steak while British cuts include a 8oz/12oz premium Scottish fillet mignon served au poivre, gorgonzola-crusted or ‘oscar’ – piled-high with crabmeat, asparagus and hollandaise. Butcher’s specials – chalked up on a board – vary regularly from T-bone steaks to a Porterhouse while other carnivorous choices include new season lamb chops, roasted rose veal chop and the signature Wollensky’s burger. The menu also offers an extensive selection of fish and seafood and typically American-style desserts.