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St John


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It is heartening to hear that the little Spitalfields yearling may be doing better than the mother. B&W is open Sunday evening when Smithfields is closed. And a Sunday evening is when I plan to squeeze my visit it.

Let me know how the food holds up at the end of the weekend, if anybody eats St. John's then.

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well I am pleased to say that on last night's experience, it still seems up to snuff

I met Tony Finch, Macrosan, Robin and a couple of ex EG's ( a long story )

We started with some cobnuts for the table which came, thankfully with some industrial nut crackers. hard work but tasty

For starters, Tony, Me and Martin went for Duck necks. Served with a dandelion salad. Delicious, greasy, crispy. I liked the salad with it a lot.

Robin had potted pig's head ( brawn by any other name ) which came with some lovely cornichons, Ex EG No 1 had the Marrow bone which tasted great and Ex EG No2 had radishes ( I think )

For main courses, Robin had a rack of lamb which was the best tasting lamb i can ever remember tasting. Two of us had roasted Grouse, plump and pink served with the guts on toast and with a fabulous bread sauce which I ate far too much of. The grouse had been hung for about 9 days I suspect. our guest seemed to enjoy and attacked the bones with some good gnaw action. Martin and Tony went for mallard which was tasty but not a patch on the grouse. The last of our group had veal, which I also ate too much of.

For puds, we ordered two eccles caked with Lancashire cheese for the table and then ate a selection of other desserts family style. Strawberry shortbread, Rasberry Ice cream ( superb ) Jelly and cream, Plum crumble. All were excellent

Service was agreeable and they managed to restrain themselves from hitting Martin who has become ornery in his dotage.

Bill with four bottles of red, four stickies, tea and coffee came to £60 a head inc service which is very good value for another very enjoyable evening

S

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PCL - I had the girolles on toast the first time and they were just divine. A huge portion of Scottish mushrooms fried in butter and parsley served on their excellent bread. Then a few weeks back had 'Puffball', this was a slice from a huge mushroom like a slice of calves liver and had been fried in lots of butter, garlic and capers - one of the best things I have eaten this year. :wub:

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Had dinner @ St John's last night...

May I ask something in general?

Not familiar with all, apparently famous, restaurants, I do not always now where to find restaurants that are only mentioned by their name. In this case it was not too difficult to find out that it was in London, but still.

BTW, it is the same for chefs, regularly mentioned here only with their first names; and also then it takes me some time to figure out who are they talking about.

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I posted this awhile ago, but for paulbrussel's convenience here it is again:

reservations@stjohnrestaurant.com

St. John Restaurant, 26 St John Street, London, EC1M 4AY

Reservations 020 7251 0848 Fax 020 7251 4090 Office 020 72514080

St. John Bread and Wine, 94 - 96 Commercial Street, E1 6LZ, telephone 020 7247 8724, fax 020 7247 8924, http://www.stjohnrestaurant.co.uk

It's where the East End and the City shade into each other at the conjunction of Bishopsgate, Shoreditch and Commercial Street. St John B&W is on Commercial St, opposite the market.

St. John in Smithfield is open for lunch from Monday to Friday from midday until 3.00 pm and then for supper Monday to Saturday from 6.00 pm

until 11.00 pm. Bar here is open Monday to Friday 11.00 am until 11.00 pm and from 6.00 pm until 11.00 pm on Saturdays. We are closed Saturday lunchtime and all day Sunday.

Bread and Wine is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner - for exact opening times in the morning you should call them on 020 7241 8724. the

menu changes as the day goes on but indeed you can eat a three course meal there. We will have the Bread and Wine website updated and fully running within

the next few weeks.

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Seriously, did they serve the suirrel's brain.  There is a school of thought in the midWest that the brain is the best bit.

Wilfrid -- The squirrel's brain was not served; neither was its tail.

I read an article in the New Yorker awhile back on squirrel hunters in Kentucky/Tennessee. Apparently the brain is considered the best part, although there was concern that eating squirrel brain could cause a disease similar to mad cow disease. Anyone worried about mad cow anymore in the UK? We stayed away from beef last time we were there.

Roz

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  • 3 months later...

Lovely meal at St. John a few nights ago. Started with the bone marrows, of course. Also had the dried, pressed pigs liver, which was part of a very tasty salad consisting of tiny radishes, capers, chopped cornichons and hard boiled egg with an excellent vinaigrette.

The entrees we chose received mixed reviews. The pig cheeks and dandelion was excellent: the cheeks were meaty and fatty, with lovely crispy skin. They paired well with the bitter greens. Again, the vinaigrette over the greens was delicious. We also had the devilled kidneys which were split in half and served over toasted bread. It was the first time I've ever had them: they tasted slighty mustardy , but the flavor of the actual kidneys was front and center.

The disappointment of the meal was the third entree of beef. To my American eye, it was prime rib, but to be honest, it wasnt' that tender. It had nice flavor and the horseradish sauce with it was excellent, but I come from Texas....enough said. My dining companions agreed that it was disappointing.

Puddings....amazing apple crumble with custard that was more like a wonderful creme anglaise. We ate it all. Also a lemon posset which was tart and creamy, almost like a lemon curd, with lovely shortbread as an accompaniment.

Lovely restaurant, great service...I really enjoyed it.

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  • 4 months later...
I read an article in the New Yorker awhile back on squirrel hunters in Kentucky/Tennessee. Apparently the brain is considered the best part, although there was concern that eating squirrel brain could cause a disease similar to mad cow disease. Anyone worried about mad cow anymore in the UK? We stayed away from beef last time we were there.

Roz

It has been such a long while since anyone has mentioned the culinary delights of squirrel that I thought I'd bring the discussion back around by citing an article from this week's "Camden New Journal", the high-minded newspaper of my 'hood.

To be filed under "There will always be an England"

I quote from "The Camden New Journal" w/o May 10:

"Vanishing Squirrel Myster is solved"

Regulars at Russell Square in Bloomsbury believe they have solved the mystery of their plummeting squirrel population which fell from 15 to just three in the space of a week. The drop had park keepers puzzled until a security guard spotted two men acting suspiciously with a bag of peanuts.

Friends of Russell Square chairman Nick Riacon said the men lured them in and grabbed them. "They were working together and herded up 12 of our 15," jhe says.

Bryan Coghlan who eats his lunch in the park said he saw the pair grab a squirrel bundle it into a bag and make their escape. "One grabbed a squirrel he had been feeding, threw it into a bag. I couldn't believe my eyes."

Squirrel meat is turning up on the tables of London's trendiest restaurants and poorest households. And one regular squirrel feeder was told thatby the men when he approached them that squirrel meat was "tasty and nutritious".

A council spokesman said: "We've never heard of this problem before."

Edited by magnolia (log)
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It's years since I went to St John but I'm fairly regular at B+W...is it worth the effort going to the mothership? Are the tales that B+W is now better than Mum true or just hearsay. Yeah I know it's all subjective.....

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

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It's years since I went to St John but I'm fairly regular at B+W...is it worth the effort going to the mothership? Are the tales that B+W is now better than Mum true or just hearsay. Yeah I know it's all subjective.....

I'm under the impression that things have turned around and that the mothership is back on top (I'm basing this on what a few friends have told me). Anyway, I was there (as St. John, not SJB&W) a couple of months ago and had an amazing meal. So, basically, yes it is worth going back. In my opinion.

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  • 1 year later...

What woul dmake a quintessential experience of st johns. There are only two of us so i suspect ordering an entire pig is out of the question.

Anything to avoid or oppositely definatley try?

Thanks in advance

PS i did a search and it was not conclusie

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I don't think there's one 'quintessential' dish, everything is pretty seasonal and dishes disappear/reappear based on that and availability of ingredients. While you could say that offal is their thing, in fact they have great fish sometimes, and I've even had an amazing Welsh rarebit there which some would say is sacrilege!

By the way some members have managed to polish off an entire pig between two :biggrin: - so it can be done.

I haven't been there in a couple of months so I don't know what's on the menu. If you have specific dishes in mind and want recommendations...try posting & maybe people will give their opinions.

What woul dmake a quintessential experience of st johns. There are only two of us so i suspect ordering an entire pig is out of the question.

Anything to avoid or oppositely definatley try?

Thanks in advance

PS i did a search and it was not conclusie

Edited by magnolia (log)
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A few weeks ago on the Fat Duck thread, I mentioned the less than complimentary views of Germany`s doyen of food writing, Wolfram Siebeck. His barbed but well informed views on St John`s can be read at http://www.signandsight.com/features/224.html

Milder comments on his meal there go along the following lines.

"The marrow bones on my plate could have come from a horse, and the beef innards in the goulash had been braised too long."

but read the rest for yourself.

For those who are not familiar with Siebeck, it should be pointed out that his standing in Continental Europe is unsurpassed. Unfortunately he never writes in English so only the occasional translation on a site like signandsight.com brings him to the monoglot anglophone audience.

His articles are really unsurpassed but sure to annoy a few people - he is very readable. He probably also knows what horse bone marrow tastes like.

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  • 4 months later...

Excellent lunch yesterday:

Starters:

Turbot, chicory & samphire - a revelation - I had never "got" turbot up to this point.

Veal tongue & green sauce - cheeky extra starter - very tender tongue.

Others had bone marrow and terrine.

Mains:

Venison liver & lentils - a first for me - liver v. rare and seared on outside. Quite strong gamey flavour. Portion too large though.

Others had forerib of beef (I ate quite a lot of this too). Perfectly rare, wonderful flavour with a good garlicky aioli. Also chorizo, snail and chickpea stew - the kind of dish I cook at home but the best fuck-off stock used here lifted this to another level.

Puds - sorbet (too full) and a pear jelly which was wolfed down.

Drinks included porter, champagne, martini, Chateauneuf du pape, St Jean de minervois muscat and digestifs, which explained the £90/head bill.

Delightful service put up with us till 4pm.

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A few weeks ago on the Fat Duck thread, I mentioned the less than complimentary views of Germany`s doyen of food writing, Wolfram Siebeck. His barbed but well informed views on St John`s can be read at http://www.signandsight.com/features/224.html

Milder comments on his meal there go along the following lines.

"The marrow bones on my plate could have come from a horse, and the beef innards in the goulash had been braised too long."

but read the rest for yourself.

For those who are not familiar with Siebeck, it should be pointed out that his standing in Continental Europe is unsurpassed. Unfortunately he never writes in English so only the occasional translation on a site like signandsight.com brings him to the monoglot anglophone audience.

His articles are really unsurpassed but sure to annoy a few people - he is very readable. He probably also knows what horse bone marrow tastes like.

Hmm. He repeatedly attributes the "50 Best" list to the Guardian. He only read about it there--when they reported on the list compiled by Restaurant Magazine. And "good restaurants," and even more frequently the world's best, do serve offal--kidneys, sweetbreads, brains, the list goes on. It isn't just Lyonnais bistros and, as he correctly points out, St. John. However, it does not seem right to me that a conscientious critic would lambast a restaurant for someone else's review with which he happens to disagree. After all, it was Bourdain and others, not St. John, who were claiming that the restaurant was "avant-guard [sic] and shocking."

Surely the unsurpassed doyen of the non-monoglot anglophone audience can get such basic facts straight, as well as name at least one Japanese restaurant in Japan superior to Nobu, a very minimal bar for a professional eater after spending even 10 days in the country. I suggest he stop trying so hard to be funny and go read some of Jeffrey Steingarten's work on Japan to learn what can be accomplished even on a short trip by an intelligent food writer who doesn't speak a word of Japanese. He manages to be funny and inform at the same time.

Edited by Culinista (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Went to St John last night for dinner:

Shared Welsh Rarebit for starters (as we were late getting to the table) - I have had this several times before and it is consistently excellent; slightly burnt at the edges and wonderfully gooey towards the middle.

Grey Partridge & Jerusalem Artichoke: Smaller and served rarer than other partridge dishes I have had, but the meat was more flavoursome and gamey. Quite fiddly to eat though and not the choice if you are particularly hungry. Haven't had Jerusalem Artichoke in ages - lovely nutty, smoky taste reminded me to try to cook it myself sometime.

Other had: Mallard & Radishes (which was very rare, by all accounts delicious, and what I wish I had gone for in hindsight), Roast Lamb & Mint Sauce(large portion of rare lamb served on it own plus mintsauce on the side), Fennel & Berkswell (cheese) and Smoked Eel, Beetroot and Horseradish (apparently excellent too).

Side dish of Sprout Tops was unexpectedly good.

Treacle Tart with Jersey Cream: As rich as it sounds, but pretty good all the same. Perhaps the tart could have been a little lighter, but I did finish it all (and half of my wife's Eccles Cake & Lancashire Cheese!)

Others had: Eccles Cake & Lancashire Cheese (unbeatable), Rhubarb Trifle, and Stem Ginger Ice Cream - all of which were throughly enjoyed.

House wines (Viognier and Grenache/Merlot) were both fine, and I thought a notch above most other restaurants' house wines.

Service was friendly, knowledgeable and discreet - as usual.

£45 per head - not inexpensive, but reasonable for the quality of the ingredients, cooking and surrounding restaurants.

p.s. If you get the chance, I would heartily recommend the feasting option - the Crispy Pig Skin, Radishes, Langoustines, Foie Gras, Suckling Pig (14 people), Eccles Cake and Lancashire Cheese and Summer Pudding we had last year was a meal not to be forgotten…

Edited by colombo (log)
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