Add: 26 Saint John Street, London EC1M 4AY
Tel: 020 3301 8069
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 12~2:45pm, 6~10:45pm [Sat] 6~10:45pm [Sun] 1~2:45pm
Visited on: Jan 2013
A plain, whitewashed restaurant with a “nose-to-tail” philosophy. Ah yes, all parts of the animal are used – neck, tongue, trotters, tail, liver, and heart. For the faint-hearted, there are dishes like seabass with butterbeans, but true gourmands go for the likes of roasted bone marrow with parsley salad.
Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad (£7.20) is one dish that does not change on the menu at St. John. The bone comes from a calf’s leg, and is roasted in oven for twenty minutes until all the bone segments have nice crusty tops. The parsley salad on the side is mixed with thinly sliced shallots and capers, then dressed with lemon juice and olive oil right before serving.
To eat, scrape the marrow from the bone onto the toast, season with coarse sea salt, then top with a few leaves of parsley salad. The rich, creamy bone marrow gets an uplift from the flavor and texture of coarse sea salt, and the parsley salad acts as a much needed refresher. Delicious.
We had a tough time choosing the main course, and at the waitress’ recommendation we took to the Pheasant & Trotter Pie (£34.50, for two). Inside a perfectly golden suet* pastry, a rich, gooey mix of roasted pheasant, butter browned bacon, melting onions, and pig trotters that have been braised for three hours with vegetables, herbs, and spices. A gloriously hearty pie that will keep you full and satisfied for hours to come…
*beef or mutton fat around the loins and kidneys.
For desserts, we chose Blood Orange Eton Mess (£7.20) simply because we’ve never had an eton mess before. This is a a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue and cream, but at St. John the strawberries have been substituted by blood oranges. Not bad, though personally I would’ve liked a lot more fruit pieces in the mess to curb the sweetness from the meringue and cream.
We weren’t able to order many dishes as we were still full from a late afternoon visit to Borough Market, but the few that we tried were well-worth stuffing our stomachs for. If you are able to get a big enough party, you can even make an advance order for an entire suckling pig – now that sounds like an epic feast to me.