Food Review: The Grill On The Market

By Jon Massey on February 21, 2013 4:49 PM |

The Grill On The Market

Unless you're tanked up and out on the beers with the lads from the office, this is probably an establishment to avoid.

Oooh baybee. Baybee don'ja wanna go?" inquires the joanna-basher at the Grill On The Market.

"Ooooh baybee," Perhaps fearing we haven't heard, he intones again, "Baybee don'jew waarner go? Back to the land of Californeear, to my sweet home Chicago?"

Even though he's not addressing me directly, I look at my surroundings.

Packed tables. Predominately male. Bald pates tucking into meaty plates.

Slotted into a booth at the rear of this cavernous warren we can't see or hear the piano - it's piped via loudspeakers, barely cutting an ocean of banter.

Chicago would be nice. So would anywhere else.

The decor is one part Soho style to three parts John Lewis lighting department. A better ratio than my Mojito, in which all parts appear to be played by ice.

Our charming waitress proves one of the few redeeming features.

Her enthusiasm is boundless and the piercing and one-sided buzz cut an unexpected counterpoint to the Grill's pedestrian feel.

It's so loud ordering is tricky and my accomplice's request for a salad to go with chateaubriand solicits a confused look and: "A sandwich?"

My heritage tomatoes on toast don't do badly and the steak is pleasant enough.

But the accompanying Tarquino Shiraz Malbec, all dressed up as a heifer with its fresian-spotted label, is claggy, like the pipes of an ageing slurry system.

As it slips down uncomfortably with the tender steak, vast vats in Argentina spring to mind with dusty gauchos wrangling immense grape-beasts into a concrete juicing parlour for extraction.

Around me the City's fauna seem loudly appreciative as they wallow in their meaty nose bags. I sidle up to the pianist and ask whether it would be a problem to leave immediately?

The Grill On The Market, 2-3 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9JX, 020 7246 0900,