Saturday, 29 December 2018

St John, Smithfield, London restaurant review


St John is one of the UK’s most iconic restaurants and Fergus Henderson’s temple of nose to tail eating has inspired an entire cooking philosophy.

His Smithfield mothership is a beautiful space. A former smokehouse, it’s bright, clean and simple.

 
We popped in for an impromptu Sunday lunch in the bar. It’s walk-ins only and fortunately there were plenty of spots available when we arrived around 1pm.

Whilst the restaurant menu features more involved hot plates, the bar menu is lighter and ideal for lunching. 

  
There’s an interesting range of wines, aperitifs and craft beers by the glass available from the monolithic bar. Burning Sky Arise IPA (£3.25) was hoppy and easy drinking whilst St John Blanc (£6.75) was very neckable. 

 
Welsh rarebit (£6.50) was a golden tablet of deliciousness; in fact it’s the best rarebit I’ve ever had. The thick white toast was topped with an oozing mix of cheesy, mustardy, beery, savoury Worcestershire sauce twanged goodness. 


Slices of crimson centred cured beef (£12.80) were made with top drawer cow and were lovely paired with a creamy celeriac remoulade. 


A green leaf salad (£5.50) was bounteous and coated in a dressing with a lovely whallop of mustard. 


St John’s roast bone marrow and parsley salad (£10.80) is a dish which needs no introduction. Three generous bones were filled with buttery and meaty marrow. 


It was delightful slathered on lightly charred toasted sourdough and topped with the herbal and piquant salad of parsley, red onion and caper. 


The eccles cake (£9) is another classic for good reason. Flakey, buttery pastry filled with sweet sticky currants was balanced by salty, creamy and delicately funky Lancashire cheese. 


A quince and apple crumble (£8.60) was a proper winter warmer. Tender, sweet and slightly tart fruit was topped with a buttery crumble which was nicely caramelised at the edges. A generous jug of single cream was poured over with abandon. 

 
Understated. Flavour-packed. Seasonal. St John is celebrated for good reason.

The Details:

Address - St John, 26 St John St, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4AY
Web - https://stjohnrestaurant.com/a/restaurants/smithfield
Telephone - 020 7251 0848

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