'Nose to tail eating' is on offer at St. John Bar and Restaurant located (aptly enough) on St. John Street, just a short skip from Smithfield Market. Not for the squeamish, St. John's menu of traditional British fare reads like a poem for omnivorous readers eager to partake in the sampling of delectable titles, such as 'Grilled Squid & Green Sauce' and 'Mince On Dripping Toast.'
During my visit, I shared a starter course of Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad with my wife and went halves on Crumbed Veal Rump, Chicory & Anchovy and Calf''s Liver & Beetroot. Our server commended us on ordering what she considered her favorite items, and, upon our dinner's arrival, we soon congratulated each other on a meal well chosen.
Now open for almost twelve years, St. John Smithfield (they have another, newer location at Spitalfield) is in a Georgian building that was once part townhouse and part five-chimney smokehouse. According to the restaurant's website:
The building is pretty much as it was found, our bar is situated in what was the main smoking room with some of the chimneys housing our pastry kitchen and the bar itself. The three remaining chimneys are used for dry goods and wine storage ... The building was painted white, skylights put in to the 20 foot high smoking room, a kitchen installed and thus St. JOHN opened.
The above statement demonstrates the sort of understated elegance to be expected at this restaurant where appropriate attire ranges from suit-and-tie to t-shirt-and-trainers. Main courses range from £13.50-20.50. Reservations recommended.
26 St John Street
020 7251 0848
Fax 020 7251 4090