There are a few good reasons to feel intimidated by St. John in London: its regular presence in the ‘Best restaurants in the World’ lists, its connection to Fergus Henderson who is credited with spearheading a renaissance in the British food movement, and its menu of wild ‘nose to tail’ eating. Despite the celebrity status, the notoriously unpretentious restaurant with its stripped back aesthetic and attitude focuses on what’s on the plate and the simple act of eating for pure unadulterated pleasure. No one comes here for the deco which is more ‘barebone clinical’ than rustic chic like so many others – they come here for the best British food, simple and guaranteed to make you roll back your eyes in ecstasy.
Opened since 1994 on the premises of a former bacon smoke-house a stone’s throw from Smithfield Market, the meat connection at St. John is an obvious one. The ever-changing seasonal menu could boast anything from pig spleen, brains, tongue, bone marrow and every tiny odd bit in between. While the forgotten cuts are a great reason to come here, the less adventurous side of the offering is nevertheless Michelin star quality and anyone would find their meal mind blowing, even vegetarians. Foraged food also often makes an appearance on the specials board and desserts are complimented by wild berries and other locally picked delicacies. The whole experience of eating at St. John is surprisingly humble though you know you’ve just had one of the purest and most enjoyable of British meals, and that’s a feeling you’re likely to want to repeat.