Smokehouse; greenhouse; squat; beer store; rave venue… restaurant.
The simply white-washed walls make no attempt to hide the colourful past of St. John, a Clerkenwell institution that resides in a building which has changed very little over the years.
Other than the 20-foot high skylights, that is.
For 25 years, St. John has stood as testament to Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson’s unwavering dedication to both the Times New Roman font and their simple philosophy: Fergus puts it on the plate and Trevor puts it in the glass. What started as a simple ode to British meat quietly led to a revolution in London’s dining scene, and they’ve proudly held a Michelin Star for a decade.
The menu’s a nod to St John’s days as a smokehouse, with dishes like roast bone marrow and grilled ox heart fitting the owners’ core philosophy of nose to tail dining (which encourages diners to eat unusual parts of the animal which has lost its life to feed them). The menu changes every day in order to best reflect availability of meats (sourced from the iconic Smithfield market right opposite), and while vegetarians will fare miserably here, meat-lovers can rejoice in the likes of hare broth; roast pork with parsnip and trotter; and mallard.
On the menu, in addition to alternative cuts of meat, you’ll find the likes of razor clams, deep fried skate cheeks and Arbroath smokies, and desserts like madeleines (which can be ordered by the dozen) and pear sorbet with Polish vodka.
Dedicated to sourcing only the very best ingredients, St. John also have their own bakery and carefully hand-select wines from small vineyards…. which means that you can happily just visit for a drink in the impressive bar, thanks to a daily changing menu and a decent selection of beers.
Of course, you can also bring your own bottle if you wish. But at £25 corkage, best save it for something very special.
NOTE: St John Smithfield is open for lunch and dinner all week (only lunch on Sundays). You can find out more or book via their website HERE.
ALSO NOTE: There are also St. John sites in Spitalfields and The Bridge Theatre, plus their bakery in Neals Yard.
St. John Smithfield | 26 St. John Street, EC1M 4AY
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