St. John London

St. John London

4 7 Reviews


British in London - Clerkenwell
26 St. John Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 4AY
+44 (0) 20 7251 0848
http://www.stjohnrestaurant.com/

St John is a traditional restaurant and bar, offering a modern British menu and a varied wine list. They can also cater for private parties of up to 18 people. Winner of the London Restaurant Awards 2000, British Restaurant of the Year.
Tags: british, cocktails, meat, modern british, private parties: up to 18 guests, takeaway, traditional english, vegetarian dishes




St. John London Reviews


My local - One of the great British restaurants. Cafe, bar at reasonable prices. Buy the bread & cakes, read the book.  

Rating  5

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Offally good - I was recently invited to St John's for dinner. Shortly afterwards, the Michelin list came out; St John had been awarded a star. Most excellent timing.

I had been meaning to go to St John for a while; nose-to-tail eating sounds great and also challenging. I'm not offal's biggest fan - kidneys and liver aren't my favourite, but I do like tripe, so I was looking forward to pushing my own boundaries a bit.

Upon arrival I was surprised to see the restaurant itself looking quite spartan. High ceilings, stone floors and plain tablecloths is very different from what I'd expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant, but there was a heathy buzz in the restaurant and a lot of full tables. We were seated in the private room.

To start, I ordered the 'Pig's Head & Radishes'. In my mind I expected some sort of pressed terrine, and was quite surprised when I got this. Amongst the radishes there were chunks of pork, quite fatty and flavoursome pieces. The radishes worked well in this dish. The contrasting textures were very pleasing, and it was all lightened with a warm vinaigrette. Excellent crusty bread helped mop up all the lovely juices.

Others had the signature dish from St John, the 'Roast Bone Marrow on Toast with Parsley Salad'. It was an impressive plate, with the bones standing tall like the pillars of the Colosseum. Armed with what looked like a torture instrument with which to extract the marrow, the bones released a luscious paste with which to spread on the toast. The parsley and caper salad was perfect to cut through the richness of it.

Next came the mains. When I first saw the menu, I saw several things that I wanted to try - roast kid, woodcock, teal, ox hearts. But one thing caught my eye, which was 'Chitterlings & Turnips'. I've never seen chitterlings on a menu before, and I wanted to seize the opportunity to give them a go. I've had pig's intestines in Chinese cuisine before, but I don't remember much about how it tasted.

When the plate arrived, I was surprised to see the size of it - I shouldn't have eaten so much bread - so be warned!

The rhubarb jelly, compote and shortbread was one of the highlights of the food. The jelly was just the right consistency and was the right side of sour. The sugary shortbread and the custard balanced it out perfectly and was a light and refreshing end to the meal.

I had a great time at St John. I must say it's very different from other Michelin starred restaurants and I did come away feeling a bit confused about them being awarded one. Of course the food was gorgeous in it's own right (although perhaps I over-did it with the double pig courses), but when compared to places I've been to like Maze, Benares and Umu, it wasn't really in the same league. I mean, there was no one to walk me to the toilet or to pull my chair out for me - or even to pick my napkin off the floor (!). That says a lot, really; obviously these things aren't always needed.

The great thing is that the menu is contstantly changing, meaning I have an excuse to go back.

  
Tags: british

Rating  4

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Biggest Chop Ever!!! - Ugh I love this place everything about it is awesome.

The decor is realy simple, its a bit like being in an old school or medical instituation, its very clean and clinical and feels like the sort of place that you might need to keep your coat on when eating in winter.

The first time I came here I has some spleen and bacon pate, some marrow and shared a Kid's leg - al of it was delicious.

Last night I went again and started with chitterlings which were delicious , kind of like fried shredded beef or pork. Then for main I had a pork chop - the waitress said they were large but I've never seen anything like it, it was huge! Seriously I took a photo, thats a normal size plate! I felt a bit like I was in a caveman film or the Flintstones or something - it was super delicious.

I can't comment on the price here as both times I've been someone has treated me but the food is awesome and the service equally awesome.  
Tags: chitterlings, marrow, offal

Rating  5

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Not Just Gross Entrails! - I was a bit nervous when I went in to St John's for dinner last week. All that I knew about the place (beyond the fact that it had a sterling reputation) was that it did "snout to tail" eating which often included various bits and pieces of animals that were not a part of my usual repertoire. I wasn't necessarily terribly eager to devour the spleen or gizzard or whatever of just any animal (although I know that my squeamishness is a bit unsophisticated), but fortunately this didn't turn out to be a problem at all! While St. John's does indeed specialize in offal and other awful sounding bits of meat, it also does a lot of exceptional (and straightforward) cuts of meat as well.
As some have noted, the place has a very scrupulous, yet plain, decor. It does indeed resemble an old abattoir (without the blood-splattered walls) and has a large dining room situated slightly above an equally impressive bar area. Good drinks on offer (including some tasty beers on tap) and an impressive French-heavy wine list.
Service was quite good and attentive, happily explaining some of the less familiar items on the menu for us. We also were provided with several jugs of water without a fuss, which is nice in a world of increasingly expensive bottles of water at fine restaurants (if I ever get handed a 'water menu' again I might flip out). The food itself was delicious, with my pork loin full of juicy goodness and delicious sticky cracklings surrounding it. Three of my dining partners split a special of the day, kid (it took a bit of explanation for me to learn that this was not a cannibal dish, but instead an adolescent goat) which was quite tasty (I know, because I stole a few bites) as well. Desserts were fine, but not necessarily amazing, although one dish was an incredibly heavy and intense cream dish that was so fatty and amazing that none of us could handle more than one spoonful.
St John's certainly deserves its reputation as a top place to go for meat dishes, and it should be noted that there are indeed vegetarian and fish dishes as well for those who are a bit put off by hogs feet or brain dishes as well. I'd recommend St Johns for a special dinner (although depending on the stage of your relationship it might be an odd choice for a date), or even to pop in to the bar for a dish or two as well.  
Tags: French Wine, Meats, Offal

Rating  5

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Meat feast! - I've long since wanted to try out one of Fergus Henderson's joints but have chickened out at the idea of eating at a place that revels in the grizzly bits of the animal. Over the years though I've learned to love liver and savour sweetbreads so the time is right. This place also came highly recommended by the loud mouth offalophile Anthony Bourdain at a recent book launch so the stars aligned and we made our booking.

First impressions were good, I felt like I was walking into an abbatoir with stark white walls, stone flooring and wooden furniture minimising the chintz factor. The dining room was packed with happy looking diners all chowing down on various plates of meat. Our eyes widened when we saw a whole suckling pig being paraded out to one of the private rooms but our hearts sank when we learned that we'd have to give a weeks notice to get that.

Undeterred we ordered up some spratts, langoustines and a brown shrimp dish. Pretty conventional so far. Our mains were somewhat disappointingly conventional with not a chitterling or a sweetbread in sight. We picked a roast Middlewhite, a great rare breed pork that is woefully underrated. Perfect for roasting, it reminded me exactly what roast pork should taste like with a sweetness to the flesh that is missing from the rubbish you get in the supermarkets. The calves liver and mashed swede was meltingly gorgeous and was the pick of the carnivores at the table. The saddle of rabbit was disappointing, a little dry and tasteless. Venison offal was the fourth main course and was pretty good, if a little unremarkable but the red cabbage side dish bought memories flooding back, it isn't something you get that freely in the US where I live.

We were still disappointed at the lack of really interesting dishes on the menu and were considering dessert when our proximity to the kitchen really paid off. The specials board had grown a new item, the suckling pig we'd seen paraded before us had obviously yielded some leftovers so we made this a really Roman feast and ordered it up.

Curiously I had managed to live my life so far without ever tasting genuine suckling pig. Suckling Pig is rare because there are strict rules that govern it's classification. It has to be under six weeks old and only fed on it's mothers milk. Wow. Where have you been all my life Suckling Pig? Obviously it tastes like pork but all of the flavours are amplified, the sweetness, the richness and the tenderness all turned up to 11. I can't actually think of superlatives to describe the crackling so I'm not going to try. Suffice to say if you are making a trip to St. John, don't gamble on there being leftovers, make the order. You will thank me.

After 3 starters, 5 main courses, a bottle of rather nice Northern Rhone red (perfect with the meat festival) you'd think we would be sated and have no room for dessert. Had there not been home made Eccles Cakes with Mrs Kirkham's famous Lancashire on the menu that would be the case, but I couldn't resist. Alarmingly they had sold out and I had to resort to an excellent, rib stickingly rich and sticky ginger cake.

This really is a foodie destination and that you should not overlook. I was a little disappointed in the convention offered by the menu but it does change daily depending on what is seasonal. I shall be making a return trip to what I suspect will become one of my favourite restaurants.  
Tags: meat, offal, suckling pig, traditional english

Rating  4

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Atkins Diet Paradise - We finally made it to St John in Clerkenwell. If you love meat this is the place for you. It looks like an old butchery or slaughterhouse with plain white walls and basic, rustic furniture. It was very cold the night we were there, and those sitting in the bar area no doubt felt the chill as the heaters made little impact on the wide open area with stone walls and high ceilings. Fortunately I had booked the dining room which was better insulated and we had a great table right by the kitchen. Starters were all seafood which was perfect giving the main courses to follow. This might sound a touch greedy but we shared 5 mains between 3 of us (!), after our 3 starters and before our desserts. We initially ordered Venisan Offal which included kidneys and liver cooked in red wine and served with red cabbage - my favourite of the dishes. The rest of our mains included calves liver which was very milky, pork (silky) with a creamy mash, and rabbit saddle which was a little bland and dry compared to the other dishes. Feel quite satisfied and ready for dessert we then saw a last minute addition to the specials board of a serving of suckling pig. We had seen the whole pig in the kitchen waiting to be served, and obviously the table that order it (one week in advance) must not have finished it. So my fellow diners and I could not resist - and it was worth it. If you ever go with a group to St John then take the time to order 'Babe' the week in advance. Amazing. Matched with lovely wines the meal was delicious. And with a tummy full of protein I was ready for bed.  
Tags: modern british

Rating  4

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Good for offal - Cool venue. Feels very funky and relaxed. Interesting menu - eg: tripe, ox heart etc.. However, my food was quite average. Pea and ham soup was unusual but very tasty. Roast beef for main which was nothing special but had a hefty price tag at £22. Glad I went but wont be rushing back.  

Rating  3

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