The jumpers are out, the heating is on and yes, the Christmas adverts are well underway, so with the summer essentials finally tucked away and the bikini body in hibernation, it means only one thing… time for a little comfort food.
Yes nothing quite like the dark British nights to give us all an excuse to line our stomachs and harden those arteries whilst we all cover up until the spring. We are entering the season of ‘eat, drink and be merry’ after all, and of course that ridiculously expensive gym membership will keep me calorie neutral won’t it? (Who am I trying to kid!)
But after a cold and miserable November day, where even the sun is too depressed to make an appearance, there is nothing quite like a hearty plate of good old British fare to warm the sole and bring back the love handles I’ve spent all summer trying to fight!
And what better place to indulge my cravings than the rather legendary British restaurant, St John.
Founded in October 1994, in an old bacon smokehouse on St John Street, Smithfield, under the genius guidance of Head Chef, Fergus Henderson, the restaurant focuses on ‘Nose to Tail’ dining. Taking the long forgotten cuts and offal and making them shine in all their succulent glory.
One of their signature dishes, a simple plate of Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad, is almost caveman esque in its beautifully simple presentation but believe me it’s pure indulgence! Served hot off the coals with coarse flakes of crisp white sea salt and door step slices of sourdough toast, it instantly takes me back to my child hood and dipping freshly baked bread into to that warm molten beef dripping, left by the Sunday roast and sprinkled with a generous pinch of salt from the salt seller before devouring every last crumb. Yes, my arteries are tightening at the mere thought of it but oh my god, that bone marrow is so good. And once the plate is clean and my husband and I have fought over who gets the last piece, I feel like Oliver in the orphanage, in the almost boarding school like setting that is the St John dining room, asking Mr Bumble, ‘please sir, can I have some more’.
But there’s no need to ask, a selection of personal choices, house specials and recommendations follow from the seasonal menu. And every plate leaves the table almost as clean as it started. The Smoke Sprats are a favorite and if they’re on the menu, they are not to be missed. And the Ox Heart also scored pretty highly too but with every plate pretty much wiped clean, the competition is close!
It certainly is a foodies paradise and with a second restaurant in London’s very historic Spitalfields, my recommendation is try both as they’ll certainly leave you wanting more!
My only disappointment, not having room for dessert of course. Yes, with such a great menu, I’m guilty as charged for over ordering, every time. Will I ever learn? Of course not! Because when it comes to St John’s I’m always spoilt for choice.
So yes, I’ve still to try the St John version of that rather famous Northern delicacy, the Eccles Cake served with Lancashire Cheese, that tempts me every time I see the menu but maybe a trip along to their Bakery on Druid Street is required? Followed by a walk along to Borough for a generous slice of Great British Cheese to go with it. Sounds like I have a plan for this weekend sorted so maybe I’ll see you there.
And if nose to tail dining is your thing then why not get the book! Another great British Product and the perfect gift for the foodie in your life. So get that Christmas shopping underway and pick up a copy.
And better still, if you’re planning a little Christmas shopping in London in the next week or two, then make a reservation at the restaurant for the perfect post shop indulgence and sit back and enjoy!