The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson
St John Bread & Wine is run by Fergus Henderson, who is known for simple, pared down British cooking and for Nose to Tail Eating. No wasting of meat parts here. One Michelin star was awared in 2009 to his more formal St John restaurant in the Smithfield area of London. This location was opened in 2003 and is located across the street from the large Spitafields Market shopping complex on Commerical Street. Menus change daily and are focused towards sharing plates amongst guests. The menu warns that shot may still be present in some meats! 12.5% optional service charge.
Decor, Vibe – Plain jane white colored dining room with simple wood tables and chairs. Mostly locals eating with a couple tourists. Most folks in the 30 to 50 range.
Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)
Lamb sweetbreads (£6.90) was a good dish with sizeable quantities of tender and slightly gamey lamb glands.
Lion’s Mane (£7.50) mushroom, wood sorel herb, in olive oil was excellent. Very fresh of course. A good meaty dish for vegetarians.
Snails, Grelots, and Brown Butter (£6.30) with leeks were very greasy but still tasty. No gaminess to them.
Elderflower Jelly (£5.70) came with 2 shortbread cookies. It had the consistency of a kid’s jelly candy along with whip cream. Different but nice.
Olives (£2.15) were very oily and had a slight alcohol flavor to them. We would not order them again.
Pigeon (£13) had a unique flavor that we had not encountered before. It was cooked to a rare that made it pretty chewy. Lentils accompanying them were good. We found no lead shot.
Madelines (£3.70) for six cookies that were overdone, but still freshly baked and warm.
St John Bread & Wine had average service, the server covered many tables and helped to explain the various dishes and was friendly, but was not very available. The food was fresh, tasty, different, and reasonably priced making this a no brainer for those who want to try St John’s famous cuisine. Check with them the day you want to dine to ensure they are serving items you would like to order.
Good selection of wines with reasonably moderate markup. Glasses from £ 5.20, bottles from 19.60. The place also sells wine and bakery items to go. They also run the more formal St John in Farringdon. Feasting dishes including Whole Roast Suckling Pig, are available for larger groups booking in advance. Tube: Liverpool Street