• Restaurants | British
  • price 3 of 4
  • Farringdon
  • Recommended

St John

This minimally decorated Clerkenwell pioneer is as good as ever, brimming with gutsy but sophisticated British cooking


Time Out says

Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver’s restaurant – now the heart of a mini-empire with branches in Spitalfields and Marylebone as well as bakeries and a 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 this former Smithfield smokehouse has bare white walls, battered floorboards and tables lined up canteen-style; the downstairs bar, with superb snacks and main menu highlights, 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. Cuttlefish and onions was extraordinary, arriving in a supremely deep-flavoured ink-based sauce with a hint of mint, as was perfectly cooked tongue 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. Help it along with a punchy Dr Henderson cocktail, Fergus's powerful combination of crème de menthe and Fernet Branca.

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, which many diners prefer for its more casual vibe.


26 St John Street
Tube: Barbican tube or Farringdon tube/rail
Opening hours:
noon-3pm, 6-11pm Mon-Fri; 6-11pm Sat; 12.30-4pm Sun. 11am-11pm Mon-Fri; 6-11pm Sat; noon-5pm Sun
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