St John

Price guide: Mid-range

26 St John Street, London, EC1M 4AY

Price guide: Mid-range

Dining room © Laurie Fletcher

By Jenni Muir, your London expert

I write for AA Travel Guides, Time Out. Read more
#13 of 115
expert-rated restaurants in London
Expert overall rating:4.8 out of 5
Food and drink:
4.5
4.5
Ambience:
4.5
4.5
Service:
3.5
3.5
Location:
3.8
3.8
Value for money:
4
4.0
Recommended for:
Business travellers, Foodies, Mature travellers, Design and architecture, Trendiness

Expert review of St John

A celebration of all things meaty, and foods that taste good on toast.

Fergus Henderson’s enthusiasm for cooking offal well has earned this restaurant an international reputation, but the roast bone marrow, deep-fried tripe and rolled pig’s spleen served at St John and its siblings (in Spitalfields and Leicester Square) are really a red herring – there are plenty of other foods to enjoy here too.

Food and drink: 

This may sound slightly bonkers, but sometimes I think St John is the closest thing London has to an authentic Italian restaurant. Why? Because the kitchen ruthlessly takes fabulous fresh, local ingredients and cooks them very simply. The dishes are mostly British, but don’t come expecting a parade of historic recipes – there’s nothing fussy about the cooking and presentation is similarly unadorned. A starter of broccoli vinaigrette is just that: a big pile of broccoli with vinaigrette on it. Rarities worth trying in season include fresh, milky-tasting ‘wet’ walnuts and alexanders (a wild green vegetable, served with braised squid). When we have visitors from out of town I make a special trip here for a batch of eccles cakes which you can buy (along with the excellent bread and French wines) to take away.

Ambience: 

Spartan yet jovial. You might marvel that they’ve recently extended the uncompromising un-decoration to a St John hotel.

Service: 

Things get hectic at weekday lunchtimes and service can be slow.

Location: 

Within a chop’s throw of historic Smithfield meat market; you could walk there from St Paul’s.

Price advice: 

Three courses will cost at least £30 without drinks; if you’re enjoying premium ingredients like oysters and grouse, expect to spend £45 on food. You can eat more cheaply and lightly in the bar.

Other useful branches: 

There's also St John Bread & Wine in Spitalfields, and the new hotel and restaurant just off Leicester Square - see website for details.

More information on St John:

Price guide:
Mid-range
Type:
Bar, Restaurant
Food:
British
Address:
26 St John Street, London, EC1M 4AY
Telephone:
020 7251 0848
Website:
http://www.stjohnrestaurant.com
Serves:
Lunch, Dinner
Opening times:
Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 6-11pm; Sat 6-11pm; Sun 1-3pm.
Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Reservations:
Always essential
Free tags / Keywords:
offal, Fergus Henderson, bakery

Have you been to St John? Would you recommended it?