Food review: Ask For Janice, Smithfield

By Jon Massey on July 28, 2014 3:56 PM |

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FOOD

Ask For Janice
Smithfield
★★★★★

Ask For Janice is new and it's exactly what Smithfield market needs. It's a triumph, terrible name aside.

There is no Janice, or anything else of much significance. Opposite a meat market, this place has had the flesh rendered from its concrete bones.

Boiled clean, only a few scraps of contemporary art break up the monotonous surfaces.

Well lit, it's a perfect backdrop for a succession of bubbly staff to gently fizz at us.

Part of me hates the boasty promise of five perfect gin and tonics. But it would be uncharitable to deny my Ophir and Fevertree aperitif praise on such grounds.

Perfect? No (£9). Worth a trip from the Wharf? Yes. And that's before we even get to the surprisingly reasonable food.

My Stichelton, comte and pearl barely arancini are heavy on the cheese and plentiful at £5.50, served in obnoxiously trendy white ware rimmed in blue.

Most notable though is the lightness of the grain; more forgiving than stodgy rice.

The bright tartness of the gherkin slab lurking next to my cheeseburger (£8) is unforgiving.

Not immense or beautifully cooked, but satisfying enough coddled in its potato bun.

Mix with a selection of wines at the bargain price of £23 a bottle and the evening begins to melt.

So I've little interest when the fact the stupid dunkin donuts don't fit in the little pots of sauce intended for the purpose. I don't even care what they cost, they're delicious. Sweeties, like their surroundings.

Smithfield's variable at best, generally a location trader rather than a progenitor of enjoyable destinations in their own right.

Here it has something spare and seductive complete with bold scaffold banister down to the facilities.

Go soon and make sure you snap up some chicken crackling (£2.50). It's far too salty, but that's the point.

Ask For Janice, 50-52 Long Lane, London, EC1A 9EJ, 020 7600 2255, askforjanice.co.uk.

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