Fergus Henderson is the king of the pig, and Trevor Gulliver is the wine equivalent. This makes their partnership at St. John Bread and Wine the ultimate experience of wine-swine-fine dining.
In 1994 the pair opened St John in Smithfield, now Michelin-starred and world-renowned. Anthony Bourdain said the restaurant was “just about my favourite in the universe.” There can be no higher praise (though, as it happens, we like it too).
Situated inside a converted bank beside Spitalfields Market, St. John Bread and Wine opened in 2003, intended as a new home for the bakery side of the operation. But the public’s appetite was insatiable, and it soon expanded to match its big brother’s reputation as a fully-fledged restaurant representing the zenith of meat cooking.
The white walls and generously sized windows stream sunlight into the dining space, making it all feel fresh and alive. Energy emanates from the open kitchen. St John is fun without being flamboyant: the stripped-back setting and signature Times New Roman typefaces throw the spotlight entirely onto the dishes, but, as with their deluxe boxed wines, there’s something tongue-in-cheek about it all.
Like its big brother, St. John’s Bread and Wine serves anything between nose and tail. Veal faggots and duck hearts with chicory are the kinds of dishes that marked Henderson out as the avant-garde anarchist of meat cooking. The menus are updated daily; one for lunch and one for supper, but there is a delectable backbone of braised lamb, rabbit and veal. What never changes is the bread; always on hand, always with butter, and always essential to the experience. And a bite from the Old Spot bacon sarnie will explain why Henderson compares making a good sandwich to playing jazz.
While Henderson sets the beat on your plate, Gulliver provides the rhythm in your glass with an all-French wine list, some of which is straight from St. John’s own vineyard in Languedoc. This can be explored by the glass, bottle or magnum, and choices are plentiful.
No need for saintly conduct here.
NOTE: St. John Bread and Wine is open for lunch and dinner daily. You can find out more, view menus and make a reservation HERE.
St. John Bread and Wine | 94-96 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LZ
Exploring the neighbourhood? Check out our favourite restaurants in Spitalfields.