Cinder St John’s Wood | Open-Fire Cooking in North London
Normally it’s not recommended to encourage people to play with fire.
Jake Finn is an exception to that rule, however…
The chef behind Cinder, the neighbourhood favourite that opened last year in Belsize Park, has already seen enough encouragement to open a second Cinder, not too far away in North London – in St John’s Wood. Finn, also once a chef at The Ritz, was apparently fascinated by a fire as a kid (not that he was a budding arsonist or anything) and this fascination has (safely) carried over into his adult years where he uses it to fuel his restaurant concept.
The big difference (both literally and metaphorically) from the original is that Cinder St John’s Wood is much roomier, with space for up to 46 that’s made up of three parts: an upstairs dining area, a 20-seat bar on ground level and a 12-cover private dining room, so there’s something to suit every occasion. And the family resemblance is made clear with those signature bare plaster walls and high-level greenery, jazzed up a little with some glittering chandeliers and elegant café curtains between seating areas.
In the kitchen, Finn’s best friend is once again the trusty Josper grill, which gives a majority of the menu the ‘flame-kissed’ treatment; grilled bread with garlic tahini and burnt tomato salsa to start you off on the right foot; then a thick slab of mastelo (the Greek island of Chios’ version of halloumi; a creamier and less salty kind of cheese) dressed in a kalamata olive glaze; smokey soy-and-maple marinated salmon cooked on a cedar wood plank; and chicken thighs with confit lemon and garlic.
It doesn’t all blow hot here though, if you prefer something on the colder side there’s a bunch of raw dishes including sea bass ceviche, scallop tartare and a seared tuna carpaccio in a black beer ponzu sauce. In terms of what’s being poured into your glass, Finn has called on The Modest Merchant to do his wine bidding – meaning everything on the list is worth a sample.
Especially if you’re on a Cinder date…
NOTE: Cinder St John’s Wood is open Tues-Sat. You can book a table on their website here.
Cinder St John’s Wood | 5 St John’s Wood High Street, London, NW8 7NG
Already planning your next dinner? Here’s our list of the best restaurants in North London
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