September 2019: Now 25 years old, St John opened in Los Angeles this month; head chef Jonathan Woolway will move to the US for the launch.
Harden's survey result
“The original nose-to-tail flag-bearer, and still a joy!” – Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson’s “stark” ex-smokehouse in Smithfield has won fame with “top quality, distinctive British cuisine” (“using unusual cuts”, most famously offal), and “although they might have started the trend, they still lead from the front with exciting, innovative and surprisingly delicious food”. It’s “honest, skilful cooking that puts the produce front and centre” on “an uncompromising and sometimes challenging menu”; and the “hearty-yet-nuanced” results are a case of “simple things done well”… “perfect”. With its brutally “simple and stylish”, “whitewash-walled” interior (“deafeningly loud” at times) and “relaxed but attentive service”, it remains “a must-go” (“what a place to take visitors to show off London’s restaurant scene”). Top Tip – “Eccles Cake with Lancashire Cheese is outstanding”.
“Still managing to excel itself on a regular basis” – Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson’s white-walled temple near Smithfield Market coined the concept of ‘nose-to-tail’ eating with its “incredibly stimulating menu” featuring “all sorts of offal and cuts of meat not usually available elsewhere”; and there’s “still nothing quite like it” after over two decades in operation. “Friendly and efficient service helps soften the austere interior” and, “if you want honest, seasonal British food with soul and heart”, arguably “there is no better place”. “We recently ate bone marrow, tripe, and pig’s tongue, then watched longingly as a grouse pie was delivered to a neighbouring table.” “Splendid wine” too. Top Tip – the bar and its simpler menu is a good way to dip your toe in the water.
“You either love or hate the austerity of the dining room, and the uncompromising nature of the ‘nose to tail’ offal-heavy approach” that’s made this “stark”, white-walled ex-smokehouse in Smithfield “the high altar” of challenging British cuisine. “The extraordinary longevity of the place suggests that most people do get it” and “Fergus Henderson and his team continue to turn the humdrum off-cuts into something magical” – “it’s hard to better such straightforward heavenly food” – with “something that’s always new or different to tempt regulars back and to intrigue the uninitiated.” Top Menu Tips – game in season, “brilliant suckling pig”, bone marrow salad (“dem bones, dem bones…”), and the Eccles cakes.
“A pioneer of British food” – Fergus Henderson & Trevor Gulliver’s “austere” but “staunch” Smithfield ex-smokehouse remains an “amazingly consistent, ever-quirky” source of “honest” enjoyment. “Staff are so accommodating, the atmosphere is relaxed and constantly buzzing”, and the focus is on the “incredible” dishes: be it “outlandish stuff (all the bits of the animal that you didn’t know about that you then think you could maybe eat); or something traditional done impressively well.” Top Tip – regulars go to the “atmospheric” adjacent bar, with its “simple but perfectly adequate menu”.
St John Smithfield Restaurant Diner Reviews
"If you love food and travel to London, you must dine at St. John."
"my favourite go to London restaurant Great food - i love the Nose to tail - best of British seasonality ethos top wines and good prices plus fair corkage policies friendly service ina relaxed environment Eveyr time my dad vsiits we go here at least sever times per year. We love to look for the daily specials so always book early to get them. A favourites is pheasant and trotter pie. Always busy creating a great atmosphere its decent value for the quality of food and drink on offer. an absolute joy to dine here every time"
"Joy. Simple things done well. Even if the revolutionary concept has now become mainstream it still delivers on all fronts except the wine list. Gulls eggs, yum!"
"After all these years, still as brilliant as ever: nothing like it and standards never slip even by a whisker."
|Wine per bottle||£31.00|
26 St John St, London, EC1M 4AY
|Number of Diners:|
|Monday||12 pm-3 pm, 6 pm-11 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm-3 pm, 6 pm-11 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm-3 pm, 6 pm-11 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm-3 pm, 6 pm-11 pm|
|Friday||12 pm-3 pm, 6 pm-11 pm|
|Saturday||6 pm-11 pm|
|Sunday||12:30 pm-4 pm|