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Price: From £13.50 to 20.00

Two decades on from its founding, this minimally decorated Clerkenwell pioneer is as good as ever: gutsy but sophisticated British cooking, puds a strong point.

Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver’s restaurant – now the heart of a mini-empire with branch, bakery and wine dealership – has been praised to the skies for reacquainting the British with the full possibilities of native produce, and especially anything gutsy and offal-ish.

Perhaps as influential, however, has been its almost defiantly casual style: a Michelin-starred restaurant for people who run from the very idea. The mezzanine dining room in the former Smithfield smokehouse has bare white walls, battered floorboards and tables lined up canteen-style; the downstairs bar, with superb snacks, is equally basic. The staff are able to chat without allowing anything to go off-track.

St John’s cooking is famously full-on, but also sophisticated, concocting flavours that are delicate as well as rich. Black cuttlefish and onions was extraordinary, arriving in a supremely deep-flavoured ink-based sauce with a hint of mint; ox tongue was perfectly cooked to bring out every taste and texture, and served with fantastic horseradish. This is powerful cooking, so if you go for a full dinner, including the great neo-traditional puds, leave time for digestion.

Wines – all French, many under St John’s own label, are on the pricey side, but you can also order good beers from the attached bar. Many diners prefer the no-bookings bar for its more casual vibe and reasonable prices.


Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad


Smoked Haddock & Sour Cabbage


Tamworth Chop, Lentils & Watercress

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12:00 pm - 10:45 pm 12:00 pm - 10:45 pm 12:00 pm - 10:45 pm 12:00 pm - 10:45 pm 12:00 pm - 10:45 pm 12:00 pm - 10:45 pm closed
  • Person Fergus and Trevor
  • Address 26 St John Street
    EC1M 4AY
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