It’s quite possible that when you look at the menu for St John Restaurant you’ll see a number of things that you don’t want to eat. Restaurateur Fergus Henderson’s attitude towards food can be summed up using the title of his first book - Nose to Tail Eating. At St John the ethos is to eat everything of the animal that you can. You’ll find tongue, heart and bone marrow sitting comfortably on the menu, with the occasional more bizarre animal part, like cockscomb, making an appearance. But don’t let this put you off. If you are looking for somewhere to try offal then St John is the place to do it.
In addition to the offal you can feast on artichokes, more regular cuts of meat, and fish. The dessert menu is vast, with the house speciality, madeleines, a regular feature. With a week’s notice the restaurant can serve a suckling pig feeding 14 - 16 people. It also has an extensive feasting menu that changes depending on the seasons.
The original St John Restaurant opened in 1994. The owners bought an abandoned smokehouse on the corner of London’s Smithfield market. The smokehouse had previously been used as a squat, a greenhouse, and a Chinese beer store. Its upper floors were used as the headquarters for Marxism Today in the late 1960s. When Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver took over the building they carried out minimal decoration, only painting the walls white, installing a bar, a bakery, a private dining room and some twenty foot skylights.
St John Restaurant is more laid back than similarly priced restaurants. There is no dress code and children of all ages are welcome. While they do not have a dedicated children’s menu the staff are on hand to identify child-friendly dishes.
Tel: 020 7251 0848
Address: 26 St John Street, London, EC1M 4AY