This lunch was much anticipated and was organised by a group of aussies who are friends of my partner and who were passing by London last week.
It was prebooked by an aussie girl who used to live in London, whom is also a big foodie so I knew it was going to be interesting. The restaurant was very particular in the booking and required orders in advance for the size of our group (11). We were to have the feasting menu which sounded grand. I imagined something like a Game of Thrones feast. St John has made a name for themselves in specialising in nose to tail eating. Their specialty, whole suckling pig costing around 320 pounds, can be ordered a week in advance but not available on Sundays. We went on a Sunday 😦
Once we were seated, the waiter handed us À la carte menus and we offered that we had already preordered meals from the feasting menu but turned out that they never received that order even though the aussie girl had confirmed the order only hours before. This was quite a fail on their behalf and they knew it because she did not let them off easily. In the end we had to go for À la carte which ended up being cheaper and we were able to pick what we wanted. To make up for their mistake, we received free sides, dessert, a couple of bottles of wine and coffee. So we definitely did not lose out.
Ok so onto the food. There were actually good parts to the experience so keep on reading 🙂
The restaurant was sparsely decorated, the theme of the relatively small dining room was white and one of the first things I noticed was that there were a few staff in chef jackets. So it all looked very professional and smart. I also noticed that there was a sign outside the dining room which said “no mobile phones” or something like that. This was also emphasized inside with small unobtrusive signs. This is understandable though a bit odd. It is for this reason that I do not have photos to accompany this post. Something to remember for next time I guess.
We ended up having something of a three course meal. They had a good amount of starters, mains and desserts to choose from. I had the Crispy pork skin salad for starters which while I enjoyed the bits of pork skin, I wasn’t a fan of the rest of it. It had an overpowering taste of hot mustard which shot up my nose. Some of the other guys had Bone Marrow on toast which looked a bit gross but I was told was fantastic. I also had a taste of the Lamb Tongue salad and that was really nice. Nice and light. For the main I chose the Lamb Sweetbreads which had bits of pancetta, turnip and onion. It tasted quite delicate, not at all what I expected. We had free sides of potatoes and beans and cheesy bread (which had a fancier name). So by the end of it we were quite stuffed and not really wanting dessert. One of the guys wanted to have Madeleines which are a french soft spongy type cake. These were cooked on the spot because the menu indicated a waiting time of 15 minutes. These came in a dozen or half a dozen to share. We ordered a couple of dozen and to be fair, ended up being complimentary. I wish I could have taken photos of these babies, they were absolute divine mouthfuls of sweet ecstasy.
Overall the experience was satisfying, we had one dedicated waiter who was prompt and attentive, food was different but fulfilling, finished off with a great treat in the end. There were more dishes on their menu which I was keen to try so will go back there again, this time with a proper camera. I found the ambience to have an air of sophistication and maturity. Good for like minded adventurous groups of adults or a nice dinner/lunch date.
St John Bar and Restaurant
26 St. John Street