Saturday, January 30, 2010

St. Johns @ Smithfield, London

I finally had the chance to eat here, after failing the first time. During my first trip to London, I had asked a cousin of mine to reserve a table at St, Johns. It turned out to be the St. Johns @ Spitalfields, which is their second restaurant. The food was great and I really enjoyed, but I said i would return to try the original one, and so I did.

What's so great about this place? The decor of the restaurant is very simple. White rough walls, white floors, a very simple table setting. Yet, it seems to be a Mecca for Pork lovers, because of Fergus Henderson's 'Nose to Tail' philosophy, where all parts of the pig are used and nothing is wasted. St. Johns is also on the list of Best 50 Restaurants in the world, currently in 14th place.

So let's get on with the food. For starters we had 3 dishes: Brown Shrimp and White Cabbage, Ox Heart, Beetroot & Pickled Walnut and probably their best best selling starter: Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad

As you can see, very simple presentation, but all the ingredients of the dishes just seem to marry so well...lost of flavors and contrasts. The white Cabbage was pickled, very crunchy. The Bone Marrow?? What can I say?? Pieces of Heart clogging marrow on bread, sea salt was delicious. The Parsley was a great side for this to cut through the richness of the fat.

For main, we ordered 2 dishes: Middlewhite and Prunes and Ox Tongue, Beetroot and Horseradish. Middlewhite is a rare type of Pig bred in Yorkshire. Simple slices of Pork with Prunes, another classic combination. Crispy pieces of skin gave the dish the texture/contrast. The Ox tongue? Great combination with the Beetroot and Horseradish. It was also quite crispy on the outside and tender inside.

We also had a side order of Welsh Rarebit, a savory sauce made of melted cheese, ale, Mustard, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce spread on bread. Delicious!

Over all one of the better dining experiences I've had in London. It's nice to see that they stuck to simple, down to earth cooking and not fallen in the modern, European fusion type of restaurants that are so abundant in London! Bravo to Fergus Henderson!

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