Skip to main content

Top Floor of Smiths of Smithfield, London

What is it? Top Floor at Smith of Smithfield is one of the four eating places in this gastro-complex. It is a restaurant, as opposed to the brasserie on the floor below, though I can't really tell the difference as neither have bread plates. Eating in Clerkenwell is always an interesting experience - because it is such a transient place: as my friend and I arrived in the evening, there were still loads of people wondering around the area moving from pub to pub, but by the time we left, the queue for Fabric (dance club that attracts a young-ish crowd) had already formed. Yet during the week, it's a business district where many marketing and design agencies are located. Of course, at 4AM we have all the huge lorries turning up with meat for the London meat and poultry market.

What was enjoyable? A laid back restaurant with a half decent view of the dome of St Paul's Cathedral. Well cooked food without being too gimmicky.
What was not enjoyable? While the Top Floor has a door that insulates itself from the rest of the complex, the noise from the main bar and cocktail lounge downstairs still vibrated through to under my feet. Not much the restaurant could do but that took away some of that tranquillity that it tries to offer.


Popular posts from this blog

Joyce DiDonato sings Berlioz at BBC Proms

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique started this BBC Proms concert with Le corsaire - it was tightly played and a sonorous sound. I wonder whether this was due to the whole orchestra standing up while playing had anything to do with it. It sounded good.

Joyce DiDonato first sang La mort de Cléopâtre - her performance was mesmerising due to her dramatic delivery of text and the wonderful lines. Sir John was ever sensitive to the flow of the music. Dido’s death scene was short, yet no less powerful with DiDonata's breadth of emotions. Some may moan about her over dramatic delivery at the expense of pitch accuracy - but that's just nitpicking.

The second half of the concert was Harold in Italy - a whimsical and eclectic piece that's interesting to listen to - but I wonder whether this should have been played in the 1st half of the concert.

Vanessa at Glyndebourne

Indeed it was a rare opportunity to see Samuel Barber's Vanessa. Keith Warner's direction was super - working in sync with Ashley Martin-Davis's stage design of big mirror cases - to bring this intriguing plot to life. Emma Bell was a pensive and stoic Vanessa, but occasionally out-shown by Virginie Verrez's portrayal of Erika. Jakub Hrůša led the London Philharmonic to deliver this lush Barber sound world.

Lohengrin at the Royal Opera

There is a lot to like about Lohengrin - big choruses, brassy sound, bit soprano roles, big tenor roles. So it is always a challenge to take this much-loved Wagner opera to the next level.

Jennifer Davis as Else von Brabant was excellent - her strong acting skills were matched by her vocal abilities and clear delivery of text (always important for Wagner). Christine Goerke gave us a gutsy and verminous Ortrud in sharp contrast to Davis. Thomas Mayer's Telramund started out bombastically in act one, but reduced to a suitably weak and introspective voice by the end of act two - which I think what the role demanded. Klaus Florian Vogt, the horn player turned tenor, gave us an otherworldly Lohengrin. The timbre of his voice sat "apart" from the rest of the cast - ethereal for quiet contemplative moments, heroic where needed. It's not a voice that you need to "like", but a voice that suited the role.

David Alden's direction took advantage of the three dime…