a return to st. johns

Thursday night, I returned to St. Johns.  We got there early, grabbed a beer, and hung outside with others and enjoyed the evening.  The smell from their bakery was wafting out into the street, the weather was summer cool, it was perfect.  I really like the space inside.  Paired down, sparse, industrial but at the same time hip and inviting.  We had dinner upstairs.  Fred wasn't here but Josh came along as we joined our friends who happen to be here this week.

There is no doubt a brilliance to St. Johns.  Returning to old ways by using every part of the animal to eat, no waste.  Actually setting off the beginning of a trend that follows into the sustainable living concept.

Each night there is a new menu.  You never know what you will get.  Clever dishes inspired from new and very old ideas yet I found the food inconsistent.

The braised squid served over borlotti beans and a slice of brown toast covered in a rich dark brown sauce was delicious. 

A simple globe artichoke with a rich mustard dipping sauce was also good. 

The cured sea trout with cucumber and dill was just not that interesting. 

The bone marrow is fantastic.  This is definitely one of the things they do best.  Roasted marrow with toast.  If you like this kind of stuff, you can't go wrong. 

The roast Middlewhite which is a piece of sliced pork from the shoulder was very basic and the side seemed to be pieces of warm cucumbers in a warm mustard sauce.  More like old English veggies.  I could have done without the side.  

The special that night was braised rabbit with vegetables and bacon that created a brown sauce.  Way too salty.

The pigeon served with mushy peas and bacon is classic British.  I didn't get a chance to taste that but the one complaint is that the pigeon was so bony it was difficult to really eat.  Too much effort for the result.

The Placie which is a meaty white fish that I have seen on a few menus in London was good but also very salty served with braised leeks on the side and a tartare sauce.

Our side order of greens were excellent.  Blanched and then sauteed.  The perfect amount of crisp left in the greens. 

Desserts were interesting.  The eccles cake was a pastry wrapped over poached currants and a slab of Lancashire cheese on the side.  Very British and excellent.  Not something I have ever had before.

Apricot and walnut cake was rich and moist.  Quite good.  Past our third bottle of wine and now a glass of dessert wine, I see the pictures are not that good.  I have to work on that. 

Last dessert was a blackberry and sherry trifle.  A tad sweet and the liquor definitely was a punch once your spoon hit it.  

Although this particularly night was hit and miss, I'd come back here in a flash.  Like Alice Water's place in SF, each night is different.  You never know.  The thing to do is order the whole pig in advance with a group.  I saw a whole pig hanging out in the kitchen and it looked pretty damn good.  Josh and I are hankering to do a whole pig and possibly a whole lamb in August.  BTW, the people behind St. Johns are opening up a small 15 room boutique hotel in London this October.  Might be worth checking out if you are coming to London then.

We strolled the neighborhood afterward and rolled home, took the tube home and off to bed.