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St John – eaten and reviewed

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You hear all the celeb chef’s nowadays talking about how “we must use seasonal products” in our cooking. I’m cool with this but its not always possible; equally there are also foods that regardless of seasonality you just need to have week in week out. St John is a restaurant with very much the same ethic.

The place also appealed to me, as they love to promote “nose to tail eating”, nothing on an animal is wasted and indeed can created delicious dishes! I popped down there to see just how delicious this could actually be (you know how dubious I can be at times)

To summarise

The St John dining room – clean white like a surgeons surgery!

26 St John Street, Farringdon,EC1M 4AY

In my opinion one of London’s best dining experiences (and the packed Tuesday night dining room seemed to be thinking the same). A weekly changing menu full of seasonal and delightfully simple dishes cooked to bring the most out of the ingredients. Forget about sprinkles of this and dashes of that, this is food that is far better in the mouth than on paper!

Ross says – 9 out of 10

To waffle

Pig’s head and radish – thankfully just cuts of meat!Roast kid with white beans and aioli – deliciously pink and juicyRich dark and sweet bread pudding with butterscotch sauceFrom what I hear St John is rather a crowd puller and has a great reputation for the quality of its cooking. When a restaurant is virtually packed on an early Tuesday evening (most tables were full by 7.30pm) you start to think that this is certainly the case. The main room is white. Very white in fact, almost like an abattoir! The only things are on wall were a bunch of coat hooks circling the room and signs politely informing that “mobile telephones must be switched of in the main dinning room”.

As expected the menu was simple if what it promotes. What you read is exactly what you get, no unneeded garnishes, no drizzles of oil; just simple and incredibly fresh ingredients (as I had expected). If you want a bit extra there are a good selection of side dishes to choose from (though while small in ingredients the food is by no means small in portion size!)
As I had hoped there were a number of very interesting sounding dishes that you won’t find in many restaurants. Being adventurous I went for

  1. Pig’s head and radishes
  2. Roast kid, white beans and aioli
  3. Greens and Welsh rarebit
  4. Bread pudding and butterscotch sauce

As I was eating two meats that I had never actually had before it could be difficult to say whether they were “perfectly cooked”. All I am going to say I that if they weren’t then cooked properly the dishes could cause world peace – both were fantastic!!

Pig’s head (thankfully cuts of meat opposed to a pig’s head stuck on a plate) were tender, succulent and more importantly very porky tasting indeed. The radish gave the meat a slight earthly after taste. Roast kid was cooked very pink but the texture was superb. Juicy, tender meat was given a bit of extra body by the beans and delicate garlic mayo. Bread pudding tasted rather like Xmas pudding to me – which was a bit of a shame as its not my favourite dish ever but there you go; it wasn’t so awful that I couldn’t eat it (I had paid for it of course) and the ice-cream was indeed very sweet, light and milky so it was not a total pudding disaster!

For a Tuesday the restaurant was buzzing with people. There were lots of people from all over the world further adding to my thoughts of the venue’s reputation. With the bleak, bland décor you would think this atmosphere would be difficult to recreate but no, it was done pretty easily from what I could see. A team of waiters manned the tables and enthused about what was good on the menu today – when the place got really busy the service got a little slow but the food was so good I didn’t mind the time to see what everyone else was eating! Prices for the quality of food also seemed very reasonable)£70 including tip, water and wine).

In a very short summary – go to St John; it really is excellent!!!

Tags food, London restaurants, st john, restaurant reviews, simple food