RestaurantsLondonClerkenwellEC1

survey result

Summary

£82
 ££££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Still love the place…” – Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson’s icon of British cuisine coined the concept of ‘nose-to-tail dining’ and hasn’t missed a beat since it opened in 1994, in a “stark-but-chic” ex-smokehouse, near Smithfield Market. Known for its “sometimes challenging menu (not least for its selection of offal dishes)”, it continues to deliver “totally brilliant”, “straightforward” dishes (“the cuts may be humble, but the results are of the highest grade”) from “good old-fashioned recipes” in its distinctive “white-walled, down-to-earth” setting, whose ultra-utilitarian style is livened up by “entertaining” service that’s “very kind and personable”. Top Menu Tip – “puddings are to die for (I don’t have a sweet tooth but this is the only restaurant where I ALWAYS have a pudding)”.

Summary

£82
 ££££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Not for the faint hearted… you need to have some courage to eat at St John with its challenging menu and stark industrial aesthetic” (complete with “harsh acoustics”). But the “uncompromising ethos” of “nose-to-tail eating at its very best” is what’s carved the international renown of Trevor Oliver and Fergus Henderson’s ex-smokehouse near Smithfield Market. “No wonder many of the best chefs in the UK are alumni of this amazing kitchen”: fans feel “this is the only place that treats every part of the animal with respect” and it remains an “all-time favourite” for very many diners (“been going for over 25 years, faultless food and personally I love the minimalism of the décor too”). Ratings did slip quite a bit this year, though, with one or two reports that “menus have been more routine of late, with execution below old standards”. Perhaps the general strain of these post-Covid and post-Brexit times?

Summary

£75
 ££££
5
Exceptional
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Uncompromising in all respects… and worth a visit”“the original nose-to-tail restaurant” has become “a pure London institution” for very many of those who take part in our annual diners’ survey: “timeless… fabulous!” The top draw is the “hearty”, offal-filled menu (“dem bones, dem bones are to die for!”) which is “heaven on a plate” for more adventurous palates. But the masochistic appeal of its “stark, white, industrial interior” has also achieved iconic status over the years – the atmosphere it creates being pepped up considerably by the very professional and personable service.

Summary

£68
  £££
5
Exceptional
4
Very Good
3
Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“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”.

For 33 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 Smithfield?

26 St John St, London, EC1M 4AY

Restaurant details

Yes
Highchair
No dress code
110

St John Smithfield Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of St John Smithfield Restaurant in EC1, London by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of St John Smithfield restaurant.
Philip W
Simply superb! Staff are second to none!...
Reviewed 2 months, 18 days ago

"Simply superb! Staff are second to none!"

Report this comment
A N
Finally a visit to the home of nose-to-tail...
Reviewed 9 months, 2 days ago

"Finally a visit to the home of nose-to-tail - and a satisfactory enough one if not stellar. There are some star dishes you can tell the restaurant made its name from, while others are evidence of unevenness in standards of imagination and technical cookery - has complacency crept in? I feel like the improving standard of other starred restaurants may be leaving the grand old dame trailing slightly behind. The wine list, though, is excellent, an army of white-tuniced staff nicely pitches the service, and the matching stark white room still has a Scandi-chic feel - but oh so loud! Maybe the worst acoustics of any restaurant I've visited. "

Report this comment
Have you eaten at St John Smithfield?
Post your own review of St John Smithfield and contribute to our annual restaurant review guide.
Post your own review

Prices

Traditional European menu

Starter Main Veggies Pudding
£10.50 £34.40 £0.00 £11.00
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £40.00
Filter Coffee £3.00
Extras  
Service 12.50%
26 St John St, London, EC1M 4AY
Make A Booking
Number of Diners:
Required Time:
Powered by OpenTable
Opening hours
Monday12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑9 pm
Tuesday12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑9 pm
Wednesday12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑9 pm
Thursday12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑9 pm
Friday12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑9 pm
Saturday12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑9 pm
Sunday10 am‑9 pm

Best British, Traditional restaurants nearby

Paternoster Chop House
British, Traditional restaurant in City
£74
  £££
2
Average
3
Good
2
Average
The Quality Chop House
British, Traditional restaurant in Clerkenwell
£106
£££££
3
Good
2
Average
3
Good
Sweetings
Fish & seafood restaurant in City
£92
 ££££
3
Good
2
Average
4
Very Good

Best similarly priced restaurants nearby

Compton
British, Modern restaurant in Clerkenwell
£83
 ££££
3
Good
4
Very Good
2
Average
Moro
Spanish restaurant in Clerkenwell
£79
 ££££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
3
Good
The Ivy Asia
Pan-Asian restaurant in London
£84
 ££££
3
Good
2
Average
4
Very Good