Historical version 2 of St John, EC1M 4AY (view current version)

English restaurant in Clerkenwell, just north of Smithfield market.

St John specialise in meat, meat, and more meat; and especially the parts of it that aren't usually eaten: tripe, sweetbreads, tongue, heart, and their signature dish of roast bone marrow served with parsley salad and toast. They're also quite keen on snails.

Vegetarians are catered for, but there's generally only one vegetarian option on the menu (which changes daily and can be viewed on their website); this might be courgettes with butter beans, or lentils with goat cheese, or fennel with Berkswell (apparently a kind of cheese).

They offer a "feasting menu" option for large groups; you do need to book in advance, and select from a limited menu, but this gives you the chance to order an entire roast suckling pig, which will be brought in whole and carved in front of you. A pig serves 14–16 people and costs £320, payable in advance.

Kake has visited several times, and never been disappointed. Dishes I've enjoyed in the past include Puy lentils and Swiss chard (a side dish), and chickpeas with sausage and snails (fantastic: the chickpeas were cooked right; the sausage was very meaty; the broth was rich and well-spiced; the slice of bread I found in the bottom of the dish was a very good sourdough; and the snails were large and moist and well worth eating). It should be noted though that I've not been there since July 2006 and word on the interweb is that standards may be slipping.

Starters cost around £4–8, main courses around £14–22, side dishes around £2–5 (and some of the main courses are designed to need side dishes too), and desserts around £4–7. The most we've ever spent here was just short of £1000 for 14 people (about £70/head), but that did include quite a lot of booze.

See also:

Last visited by Kake and Sam, July 2006. Prices taken from the St John website, August 2007.
OS X co-ord: 531820 OS Y co-ord: 181864 (Latitude: 51.520319 Longitude: -0.101450)
This is version 2 (as of 2007-08-15 20:23:42). View current version. List all versions.