RestaurantsLondonShoreditchE1

survey result

Summary

£66
  £££
3
Good
2
Average
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Home of “possibly the best bacon sandwich in London amongst all the faddishness and superficiality of modern Spitalfields” – this “carnivore heaven” is “more accessible and less full-on than the original (and still best) St John”, but still serves “excellent nose-to-tail food” from breakfast to dinner. Its white-walled, canteen-like quarters are echoey and not especially comfortable, but somehow avoid seeming as grimly utilitarian as they otherwise might. Top Tip – the baking is gorgeous: “an Eccles cake here will offer all the benefits of a warm hug”.

Summary

£66
  £££
3
Good
2
Average
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Home of “possibly the best bacon sandwich in London amongst all the faddishness and superficiality of modern Spitalfields” – this “carnivore heaven” is “more accessible and less full-on than the original (and still best) St John”, but still serves “excellent nose-to-tail food” from breakfast to dinner. Its white-walled, canteen-like quarters are echoey and not especially comfortable, but somehow avoid seeming as grimly utilitarian as they otherwise might. Top Tip – the baking is gorgeous: “an Eccles cake here will offer all the benefits of a warm hug”.

Summary

£66
  £££
3
Good
3
Good
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“You can’t beat a great bacon sarnie and a range of other delicious breakfast specials” at this long-established spin-off from Smithfield’s St John, near Spitalfields Market. At other times this utilitarian canteen serves its “very good, if sometimes overly quirky” offal-centric British menu alongside a “wine list full of vintages you’ve never heard of, but which are always enjoyable”.

Summary

£62
  £££
3
Good
3
Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“It looks basic, but that’s because every single dish speaks for itself, or should that be SHOUTS!” – the accepted view on this engaging, if slightly “bleak” Spitalfields canteen – “younger sibling to the Smithfield veteran”, whose “lip smacking” menu of offal-centric British “delights” has long made it “a real favourite”. Several meals this year however “didn’t live up to its reputation”, and ratings have dipped as a result.

For 30 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at St John Bread & Wine?

Restaurant details

Highchair,Portions
No dress code
60

Prices

Traditional European menu

Starter Main Pudding
£8.40 £26.40 £6.00
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £30.00
Filter Coffee £2.75
Extras  
Service 10.00%

Harden's says...

St John Bread & Wine E1

One of the London's odder facets is the dearth of restaurants specialising in traditional British scoff. You're more likely to get risotto in your classic central London pub nowadays than steak & oyster pie.


Two years ago, St John - one of the few places serving exciting and genuine British food - launched this spin-off establishment, east of ever-more chichi Spitalfields Market. Five minutes' walk from Liverpool Street, it offers some of the best food easily accessible from the Square Mile.


As at the Spartan Farringdon original, the room couldn't be more functional: a white-walled square, with bare tables and a kitchen at the back. Staff wear white. It all seems reassuringly no-nonsense and professional.


"Challenging" is how St John's food is often described: a reflection on how alien dishes using offal seem to some people nowadays. "Chitterlings & Mustard", for example - seared pigs intestines snaking around the plate, brought 'The Quatermass Experiment' to mind. Delicious, though. And the enjoyably blunt menu (descriptions seldom exceed four words) offers numerous vegetarian and fish choices, so you really don't have to 'do that to yourself' if you don't want to.


The 'Bread & Wine' of the restaurant's name are available to take-away. Given the difficulty of finding 'artisan' bread in London, the former is particularly worth knowing (and for no more that a nice loaf from Waitrose). There is an interesting and eclectic choice of wine - I drank a good dry, fruity white from Irouleguy in the Basque Country.


There's something about the timeless, refectory-style of the room, the honest food and the professional, no-nonsense service that feel set to endure. Perhaps in 100 years' time, when the proverbial tourist wants to visit a quaint, traditionally British institution, this will be just the place.


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94-96 Commercial St, London, E1 6LZ
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Opening hours
MondayCLOSED
TuesdayCLOSED
Wednesday6 pm‑10 pm
Thursday12 pm‑4 pm, 6 pm‑10 pm
Friday12 pm‑4 pm, 6 pm‑10 pm
Saturday12 pm‑4 pm, 6 pm‑10 pm
Sunday12 pm‑4 pm, 6 pm‑10 pm

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