Randomness Guide to London - Differences between Version 9 and Version 8 of St John, EC1M 4AY

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English restaurant in Clerkenwell, just north of Smithfield market. They also have another branch in Spitalfields.

Note: St John Clerkenwell will be closed for a refurb from Friday 27 June 2008 until Monday 18 August 2008. The Spitalfields branch (St John Bread And Wine) will remain open as usual.

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 usually catered for, but there's generally never more than 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 (as of March 2008), 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 £3–5 (and some of the main courses are designed to need side dishes too), and desserts around £4–7.

See also:

Last visited by Kake and Sam, July 2006. Prices taken from the St John website, March 2008.

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