St John Hotel

It’s been an age since I sat down to write a blog post, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped eating, all it means is I now have a hefty back log of places to write up! Anyway, it the distant past I very kindly decided to take my little sister out for a birthday supper and as she hadn’t been we decided to go to St John. Sadly the flag ship couldn’t squeeze us in which was a bit of a disappointment as she’d been looking forward to the famous bone marrow on toast, but instead we headed down to the heart of Soho to check out the newest in the fleet, the St John Hotel. This is the 3rd of Henderson’s meat factories and follows the same ethos of the ones that went before it; daily changing menu, head to toe cooking and lots of meat. We decided to meet a little early to have a drink before supper and I wanted to check out the bar upstairs. Now the bar at St John proper is a great place to have a plate of something and a pint, it’s one of my favourite spots but sadly it has nothing in common with the bar at St John Hotel which immediately brought back memories of class trips to the local swimming pool. The floors are sickly blue linoleum which, coupled with the stark white walls and plastic tables, have a rather garish effect. Although all Henderson’s places are a little sparse they are usually quite warm in other ways. This was just horrible.

Luckily the same can’t be said for the main dining room which is more familiar,; open plan with a view of the kitchen it probably seats about 30 covers. The food itself is exactly what you’d expect, which is’nt a complaint at all as this was the reason we came. I love Fergus Henderson’s cooking; simple, meaty and decadent. I started off with Snails, Pig’s Cheek and Lovage while my sister went for the Pickled Mackerel. The cheeks and snails came in a delicious, slightly bitter lovage sauce and were unbelievably morrish, the sort of starter you intentionally slow down to eat. I want to learn to cook that one myself. The mackerel was good as well; it had a lovely cure and a sort of bean salad but it’s something that I have had too many times recently and need a bit of a break from.

Snails, Pig's Cheek, and Lovage

Pickled Mackarel, Kohlrabi and Coco Beans

Mains were more of the same, I went for the skate which was a nice bit of meaty fish but lacking in seasoning and a little dull, I found myself looking over enviously at my sister’s Gloucester Old Spot Loin, which looked an amazing, almost gammonny piece of meat, it had been cooked in chard and mustard and I am getting hungry just thinking about.

Skate, Bread and Brown Shrimp

Smoked Gloucester Old Spot Loin, Chard, and Mustard

We’d didn’t get on to pudding as by this point with a bottle of wine and a drink at the bar the bill was already at £120 which is pretty steep even for St John quality cooking. We had a lovely time and this newest venture will be very popular in its central location, it’s certainly a nice addition to what is becoming a truly amazing area of London food wise but my heart will always belong to the original and next time I get the craving for a St John meal, that’s where you’ll find me.

St. John Hotel on Urbanspoon

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