Nestled in London’s “meatpacking district,” St. JOHN has been a restaurant I have been dying to go to but wouldn’t unless I made the trip to London. Well lucky for me I did just that last weekend visiting jolly old England with my boyfriend. It must come as no surprise that I began compiling my food list the moment my flight confirmation came through and out of all the places I wrote down, this was highest on the list (and the only one I managed to eat at, other than Harrods Food Hall).
Housed in a former smokehouse, St. JOHN is the brainchild of Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver. Fergus, you may know, has been a champion of offal, long before it became “cool” to the foodies of the developed world. I don’t know if he coined the term “Nose to Tail Eating” but this philosophy is synonymous with his name. St. JOHN is a Michelin-starred restaurant, but it’s also a working pub….. a nod to the British love of a good pint.
Anyways, I’ve been dying to come here and my good friend Fiona, who I spent a crazy six months with in Belgium back in college, happened to work next door! Fiona and I have been friends for nearly 9 years and yet we have never lived in the same place. She’s one of those friends who you can go days, months, weeks, years without seeing and yet? Our friendship doesn’t skip a beat. My semester abroad was made that much better because of her. It’s a shame we live so far apart, but we do a pretty darn good job of staying in each others lives.
Since Fiona was on a lunch break we didn’t have much time so we sat in the bar area…an airy open space that lay behind a long corridor from the entrance. It’s bare bones, white walls with food and drink menus written on them and creaky wood tables, but I gathered immediately that it was all about the food here (which it is).
Even before I arrived, I knew I would order their signature bone marrow if it was on the menu. And I was familiar with Welsh Rarebit as a name, but had no clue what it was so I figured why not?
*Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad*
Bone Marrow brings me to my knees and if everyone I ate tasted as good as this one did, then I would be in some serious trouble. With each bite I swear I was thickening the walls of my arteries. This was rich, buttery, flavorful (although the flavor was subtle) and the parsley salad was a perfect topper on the slathered toast.
My first go at this traditional English dish, I had no clue what to expect when I ordered it. I don’t know where the name came from but welsh rarebit consists of a savory sauce of melted cheese served warm over toast. On first bite, it was interesting but I came to really enjoy it, although it was a little greasy for my taste. Let’s just say that after my 1pm lunch I didn’t have to eat until 10 pm that night!
The menu changes frequently and features eclectic menu items such as lambs tongue, pig cheeks and hare saddle but If you’re in London you must give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.We sat in the bar so I cannot speak to the service of this place, but the food… it’s just as good as what everyone says. Yes the place is expensive, but not out of line with the quality, the experience and the high exchange rates!
26 St. John Street, London EC1M4AY