Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Andy Lynes

St John

Recommended Posts

The side order of steak & kidney pie had, as pointed out, a rather watery filling

Yes, I don't want to upset our man Fergus as he runs a great restaurant, but to be honest the steak and kidney pie was a disappointing example of the genre.The filling needs to be chunky and thick and viscous. This was indeed very watery and thin. I think with a dish like that you DO need to thicken it with flour or another agent, and the restaurant's apparent unwillingness to do so detracted from the dish IMO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The side order of steak & kidney pie had, as pointed out, a rather watery filling

Yes, I don't want to upset our man Fergus as he runs a great restaurant, but to be honest the steak and kidney pie was a disappointing example of the genre.The filling needs to be chunky and thick and viscous. This was indeed very watery and thin. I think with a dish like that you DO need to thicken it with flour or another agent, and the restaurant's apparent unwillingness to do so detracted from the dish IMO

What Tony said

The weakest bit of the evening apart from Martin & Tony discussing the new workout video they are working on

Shape up n' dance with Macrosan and Finchy ( is there a shudder emoticon? )

S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm saddened by hearing of poor performance by the steak and kidney pud.

But glad to hear of the rest of the meal and that you all had such a good time.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The [steak and kidney pie was the] weakest bit of the evening apart from Martin & Tony discussing the new workout video they are working on

Shape up n' dance with Macrosan and Finchy ( is there a shudder emoticon? )

Yeah, I forgot about the pie. In fact, it looked magnificent, and the crust was thin and light (which I like). But the contents were indeed a bit meagre and thin, even though the taste was sort of OK.

I've just got back from seeing the first rushes of our (Tony's and my) new video. The director says he's "just thrilled, sweetie" but I'm not sure about keeping in the shots of the resuscitator being used on Finchy or my leotards splitting in an overly (in my humble opinion) revealing fashion. The producer is Gervais Entwhistle, famous for his work on that excellent corporate video he made for Enron and, more recently, the highly acclaimed satirical documentary "The Tale of the Bengali Tiger". Gervais wants to name our video "Tone up with Maccers" but I'm concerned about the double entendre. Must talk to Finchy about this when he recovers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lucky bastards. I should be in London right now, and reserving my portion of squirrel. :angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

finally made it to st john on wednesday lunchtime, i had absolutely no idea what to expect having never seen the restaurant in the flesh but was very impressed once inside, the bar/bakery was very welcoming with bread aromas wafting through and a seemingly decent selection of bar snacks available too.

At 12.30 i was one of the first into the sparse dining room but the friendly staff were soon offering drinks and menu's whilst i waited for my 'errant ' guest (their words not mine!). A glass of champagne at a reasonable £6 accompanied menu perusal.

As my guest was keen to have a bit of a sample too we settled on starters of chicken broth with wild garlic for her and grilled razor clams for me followed by bone marrow and parsley sald and chitterlings with a dandelion and mustard sauce.

soup and clams were fine and both very garlicy, not a problem in my book. Bone marrow was interesting and i had no idea of the consistency of the marrow but i think i'll file it under, tried but not rush back category, the simple parsley salad did cut through the fat nicely thought and i could see how people eulogise about this dish but it's just not for me.

chitterling were more successful, i was expecting perhaps a french andouillette type affair but we were faced with 6 or so nuggets of piggy-ness with a bitter salad and dressing, which worked well.

by this point we'd forgotten about the mains and were quite full, however we pressed on with a 'special' of roast fore-rib of beef on beef dripping bread, which was as it says very tender beef served on almost fried bread with fresh horseradish and accompanied by new pots and greens. guest had cold roast lamb and asparagus i think. both were simple but delicous.

by this point and conscious of further eating engagements later we skipped desert but both the eccles cake and apple tart were calling!

washed it all down with a decent chorley les beaune (about £30) and total bill when first brought seemed a quite large £130 odd however closer inspection revealed the 3 razor clams charged at 6.60 each rather than actual 2.70!

service was prompt polite and amiable, i can see how it would easily become a place you'd want to eat at regularly, but being boring i'd probably stick to the more conventional offerings, not wanting to be seen as amateurs though i did enquire about crispy pigs tales :biggrin:

guest thought place fantastic and is already plotting post work drinks at the bar, if i'd been heading back north that night i'd certainly have cleaned the bakery out too!

bring on the night of the pig!


you don't win friends with salad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great t-shirt - thank you. But, do you think there's a chance it might shrink? :sad:

v

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh - mine's enormous too. I'm thinking about buying a belt and wearing it as a mini-dress. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heh - mine's enormous too. I'm thinking about buying a belt and wearing it as a mini-dress.  :wink:

I definitely would've in my more youthful days. But how come it's long on me AND you? :wacko:

v

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it terrible that at times one is only motivated to write about experiences that disappoint. No real impetus here to talk about recent great meals at Pied a Terre, Boxwood or Chez Bruce, just those that fail expectation.

I know many will think it heresy, but I am going to go for it:

"Hi, My Name is Scott and I thought Resturant St John ordinary"

Not terrible, not bad, just not worth the fuss and seeming to lack accomplishment in the kitchen.

It's all trying to be so very cool, a pretentious shabby chic; aren't the white-washed meat packers motif's so last season dahling..?

The glasses on the table were ridiculous, better suited to appreciating the fine batch of Ribena circa May 21 than a fine wine. A shape surely copied from that often found cast in plastic within a debenham's picnic set. A table opposite ordered a £200 bottle of claret and received the very same glasses - they are inadequate, NOT joyously pared back to simplicity itself. :angry:

Service? Not especially friendly or helpful, but most of all they are not proper waiting staff, they are 'plate carriers'. In itself ok, but hardly up to the standards or prices claimed.

I found the menu deceiving. items not properly or accurately described, and with some slightly surly plate carriers to take your order, one is certainly made to feel an outsider if one just doesn't already know. is this a home for the raw edged, loft dwelling, urbane loveys?

The bone marrow salad bares no resemblance at all to a salad, the crumble is a tart, creamed spinach is served cold and my octopus is marinated in viniagrette and also served cold without warning.

there is no reason for this, other than to keep with the image.

To the food itself, it's ok, bit smug but alright.

I think some have described described it as 'one note' and I fully understand where the sentiment comes from. I think 'Trad Brit' dishes are served better and cheaper at The Ivy. The dishes are a little uninspiring and 'OVERPRICED'.

Gulls Eggs with celery salt. Actually I quite enjoyed it, but not more than a well prepared boiled egg at home. Curiousity value only.

Octopus & Aioli; Cold and too chewy - not what I expected. I want a hairy Greek man named Stavros and his chargrill, not a glorified tapas.

Bone Marrow Salad. more interesting than pleasurable. words like 'interesting', and 'challenging' are thrown around the table. It was ok, in no way bad but for a signature dish...

BTW how does spreading gelatinous goop on toasted flat bread = salad?

Langoustines with mayonaisse - lovely and fresh.

Old Spot Chop - a very large pork chop in a smoky glaze. Fine, but nothing to write home about. Just a bit of pig with a poncey ye olde description.

Pigeon with peas; minty mushy peas were excellent, coarse, toothy texture. Spot on. small pigeon spatchcocked and served in 2. OK, tiny portion, well cooked but precious little meat. Walked the line of being bland but held it's nerve to achieve passable.

NB. this is not inspired cooking, the standard of a good domestic kitchen.

Lamb Loin with Spinach. Cold creamed spinach? what's up with that. horrible.

The loin itself was a beautiful piece of meat, but being so close to smithfield that's a no brainer. Pink, tender just as it should be. But for £17.50 - c'mon guys you're taking the piss. When you can stroll across clapham common to M Moen & Sons this dish loses a little lustre. I could do this as well at home. Which is a recurring but not altogether damning theme throughout the evening.

Essentially the produce is the star and the kitchen is ancilliary.

By now we're just underwhelmed, having had better meals in a gastro pub. That said, if St John's were local and cheaper I might eat here quite often, when I can't be arsed doing anything else.

Rhubarb crumble was good, though since when does a crumble have a pastry base? doesn't that make it a tart? No of course not dahling that wouldn't be Trad Brit would it?

The rhubarb filling was firm and still soft enough and sexy enough to delight. Flaky oat topping adds a crunch to possibly the best dish of the night.

I am sure I am missing something here as I just can't see how this is anything special to anyone. I think there is certainly a place for this type of establishment, but as a fools gold foodie mecca I'm not so sure. prices were £45 per head without wine. 5.5 - 6/10


Edited by Scott (log)

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The loin itself was a beautiful piece of meat, but being so close to smithfield that's a no brainer.

It would be if the restaurant actually bought anything there. Fergus told me that they get their meat from a number of different suppliers around the country (can't remember the names, sorry).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The loin itself was a beautiful piece of meat, but being so close to smithfield that's a no brainer.

It would be if the restaurant actually bought anything there. Fergus told me that they get their meat from a number of different suppliers around the country (can't remember the names, sorry).

Andy,

fair enough, It was a fine piece of meat in anyone's language.

But next we'll be applauding anyone who gets their fillet from Donald Russell.


A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shame you had an average experience Scott. I've been disappointed at St J's also, particularly on busy evenings when the service can be strained.

And yet... there's still something about it that can make for a great experience that is more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps it's just the (pretentious?) lack of formality or the fact its just plain different to the run of the London mill -- I put it in the same camp as Alistair Little (Frith St) as a restaurant I'd be happy to visit time and again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know many will think it heresy, but I am going to go for it:

"Hi, My Name is Scott and I thought Resturant St John ordinary".

Oh I shouldn't worry about saying you were disappointed if your were disappointed. People like different things and - more importantly - have different expectations. In fact whenever I send my bosses off to my favourite standbys (eg Sutton Arms, Incognico) they always come back and tell me the food was terrible!

Personally I find the bone marrow thing a bit nauseating after a bite or two - but probably because I have over-indulged in the past! And on that note, Andy - you better sort out a decent alternative starter (spelt N - O - T - P - E - A - S)

cheerio

J


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tend to agree with the current thread of these postings...Fergus Henderson is a fine chef and should be applauded for championing the style of food he cooks, but St John has never made me bounce off the rafters with excitement in spite of this.. and the glassware is utterly deplorable - why bother putting together a decent wine list when you are serving the wine from beakers?

ps Could anyone direct me how to quote from a previous posting?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And on that note, Andy - you better sort out a decent alternative starter (spelt N - O - T - P - E - A - S)

Nothing to do with me guv, its that Majumdar bloke you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ps Could anyone direct me how to quote from a previous posting?

Just click the "quote" button on the top right hand corner of post you want to quote and all will be revealed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a big fan of St John, but I can absolutely hear the ring of truth in what you've said, Scott. The service has always been a big part of the St John experience for me, and on my four visits the service has been excellent. That does make a difference.

As far as the food goes, I think many of your criticisms derive directly from the bad service, and consequent bad vibes, you got there.

Copmplaints about the glassware ? Well I've never noticed the glasses, so I'll just believe what you say; but that's not a show-stopper.

Gulls Eggs with celery salt. Actually I quite enjoyed it, but not more than a well prepared boiled egg at home. Curiousity value only.
...and nothing wrong with that. Many dishes are worth trying for curiosity value only; that's how we discover new dishes.
Octopus & Aioli; Cold and too chewy - not what I expected. I want a hairy Greek man named Stavros and his chargrill, not a glorified tapas.
Then of course you should have gone to a Greek restaurant :raz:
Bone Marrow Salad. more interesting than pleasurable. words like 'interesting', and 'challenging' are thrown around the table. It was ok, in no way bad but for a signature dish
In fairness, I think StJ customers have designated this a "signature dish" and not Fergus. I agree with you. I tried it once and it was almost instantly forgotten. That just makes it "not my sort of dish" rather than something Fergus should remove from the menu.
Rhubarb crumble was good, though since when does a crumble have a pastry base? doesn't that make it a tart? No of course not dahling that wouldn't be Trad Brit would it?
I don't know the technical answer to that, but you are now maligning one of my favourite dishes at St John, "dahling" or not :laugh:

It's good to get a counterbalancing view from someone who has resisted the hype, Scott. Thanks for the review .... I enjoyed it :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Andy - you better sort out a decent alternative starter (spelt N - O - T - P - E - A - S)

I can happily supply Tom's number Jon and you can organise yourself. That may be a little too much like hard work though

S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can happily supply Tom's number Jon and you can organise yourself.  That may be a little too much like hard work though

But Simon, as you well know, "Ingrate" is my middle name... ;-)


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had dinner @ St John's last night with a couple of friends, and it wasn't like it used to be.

Not to say that it was bad, but there were some concerns over the 'finishing' of my dish... and the garnishing for the obligatory bone marrow.

1. The toasted slices of usually fresh crispy bread were chewy and maybe slightly stale. Probably batch fired beforehand and left to cool a little carelessly. I ended up using the fresh bread instead with the marrow, and it did not disappoint.

2. The roast mallard with radish was tasty, but tough. The accompanying sauce was watery, and unseasoned, basically not well finished. The garnish was a little too raw and overpowering.

3. My friend, however, thought his braised rabbit was up to standard. I tasted the sauce and a nibble of rabbit and it was indeed yummy.

4. No complaints about the wine, and the eccles cake was fantastic and sufficiently crisp on the outside.

5. Service was a little less polished than usual, and for a half full dining room, the staff seemed to be struggling a little.

Basically, it was disheartening to have certain things said about StJ's confirmed (friends have been going there and recently without returning with the usual glowing remarks) and especially so when even the stalwart vanguard of the menu such as the marrow being treated with slightly less respect than it would have been otherwise accustomed to.

Now, would this just be an isolated incident, and can others confirm or rebuke my suspicions?


"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am at St J's tonight

I have been about 5 times this year. Each time has been good with some of the qualifications you raise.

I have always found service to be friendly but sometimes a bit dippy.

My most recent visit about three weeks ago was excellent but your comment about the Marrow bone is spot on

I have had more enjoyable meals at St J Bread & Wine in the last few weeks and I wonder if they are turning their attention to that to the detriment of the mothership

We shall see tonight

S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i really do recommend St.J Bread and Wine if you feel St.J has gone off the boil. It is less formal than Smithfields and every meal I have had there has been spot-on with excellent service. If there is any form of mushroom on the menu, try it, it will be worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Simon Majumdar Posted on Sep 9 2003, 07:05 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have had more enjoyable meals at St J Bread & Wine in the last few weeks and I wonder if they are turning their attention to that to the detriment of the mothership

Charlene Leonard Posted on Sep 9 2003, 07:40 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

i really do recommend St.J Bread and Wine if you feel St.J has gone off the boil. It is less formal than Smithfields and every meal I have had there has been spot-on with excellent service. 

We almost went to Bread & Wine... then decided we'd take the one stranger to StJ's to the mothership then hit on B&W next week... can't wait till then, but will probably do Bodeans once before then :cool:

Simon, I'll be most interested to know how your experience goes tonight.

Charlene, and I love mushrooms... will try definitely.


"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...