St. Johns Restaurant
April Bloomfield from the Spotted PIg would fit in perfectly here. St. Johns is a gastropub that many people might wonder what exactly to order but my suggestion would be, just pick at random and you will be delighted.
Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver opened St. John in 1994. I actually own Henderson's book, which got rave reviews last year, Beyond Nose to Tail Eating. That is basically what the restaurant serves.
The place is simple. An open kitchen window in the back. The wait staff all wear chef's aprons. White walls, wooden tables, high ceilings and low hanging industrial lights. Downstairs is a drop in cafe and it looked like the menu was similar. Upstairs, is the main dining room where reservations are taken. There is a private dining room and suckling pig can be ordered a week in advance. Love that.
Fred and I decided to start with 2 appetizers to share. Brown Shrimp & White Cabbage and Green Beans & Roasted Shallots. Bread came when we sat down, 2 delicious peasant type breads, one brown, one white. All made at St. Johns. Both appetizers were delicious. Tiny tiny shrimp tossed throughout a thinly sliced green cabbage salad with a real bite of vinegar. Think funky cole slaw. Green beans, with a small bite, tossed with a heavy handed mustard dressing and roasted shallots. The shallots were almost like mush. Perfect for spreading on the bread. Interesting sides turned into appetizers.
Dinner was also delicious. Fred went with the roasted guinea fowl. As our waiter said, guinea fowl is what chicken used to taste like in the old days. I think I have heard that one before. Simply roasted over a salad of roasted red cabbage. A good hearty meal. There were a couple of specials last night, one was a pigs head. Considering that they do a suckling pig with an advance order, I went with it. I know this is not for the faint of heart but it was fantastic. Meat pulled right off and the skin was beyond crisp. Served with a watercress salad. Sorry about the picture for you that might cringe but I couldn't help myself.
We bagged dessert although the eccles cake with lancashire cheese was calling out my name. Eccles cake is what April served at The John Dory. A warm lemon cake/pudding. These days, I'd rather go out content than feeling too full.
St John was fantastic. I am going to go home and read Henderson's cook book again and maybe try some of the recipes.