St John Bread & Wine

Restaurants, British Spitalfields
4 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
© John Deehan

St John’s smaller offshoot has the same workaday style as its Smithfield parent: a bright, white, canteen-like space, no-frills furniture, walls lined with coat hooks, and a utilitarian bakery counter in one corner.

Exceptionally well-informed staff in whites give the impression they could be chefs bringing you each dish as soon as they’ve cooked it (which may sometimes be the case). The main difference is in menus: there are no real ‘courses’ for lunch or dinner (except a salad and soups that could pass as ‘starters’), but medium-sized dishes that you can have in any order. The essential culinary approach is unchanged – an exploration of every under-appreciated British ingredient (especially gutsy meats), skill, imagination and second-to-none freshness – and it seems to work even better in small doses. Goat’s curd and grilled spring onions on a slice of superb own-baked bread was made exhilarating by dashes of fabulously fresh mint; lamb onglet with chicory and anchovy didn’t recall any old English recipe to mind, but was a wonderfully rich, perfectly balanced mix.

Generously sized puds are as big as mains, and wines are impressive. A hit for breakfast, with a renowned bacon sandwich, Bread & Wine now also offers afternoon tea.



Venue name: St John Bread & Wine
Address: 94-96 Commercial Street
E1 6LZ
Transport: Tube: Liverpool Street
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Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
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Ranked as one of the best Bacon sandwiches around, and as a big fan of breakfast, I was pretty keen to try St. John's version of this early morning staple. The best I can describe it as is being unremarkable and expensively priced. The bacon was clearly of good quality and the bread, thick. The brown sauce used was homemade and had a good taste to it so on a general basis, it was enjoyable but didn't stand out from the crowd. The tables are quite neatly packed in to the open plan restaurant but the staff are attentive, polite and professional and the restaurant is easy to find nearby Spitalfields market. No disabled facilities and the toilets are at the foot of a steep staircase so might not be suitable for little ones.


Had a fantastic dinner here Sunday. The cuttlefish in ink was perfectly cooked. My favorite was kidney on toast, yes it may look funny.. and smell a bit funny too, but once you have a bite you'll get over all that. The texture is amazing and it's really great with the brown sauce.

Really good bacon sandwich...what more do you need to know? Brilliant doughnuts as well, springy and light with amazing vanilla custard filling. Nice airy space and lovely staff!

Staff Writer

If the St John mothership in Smithfield is too pricey or too booked up (which it often is) Bread and Wine is a great alternative, more relaxed, fewer suits, a little cheaper, but still the same incredible attention to detail, impeccable and friendly staff and meat-focused menu. The real difference is in how the dishes are served – on medium sized plates made for sharing. The best idea is to order a few for the table. Specials tend to sell out quickly, so get there early. And if you like a little privacy while you eat ask for one of the tables at the far side of the restaurant or by the window, otherwise you’ll be cheek-by-jowl with your neighbours in the middle of the room.

I've been to the St. John a few times in the past and was keen to recommend to friends. Last night, though, I can only describe it as 'grim'. By the time we arrived, four out of the six specials were gone. On the menu, another three were crossed out. A fourth was removed once we ordered it, forcing us to chose something else. Felt like we were racing against the other customers to see who could order first before the place run out of food. Ordered the wine, 15 minutes later, they couldn't find a bottle. Had to chose again... When you can't even stock wine, you're in trouble. The lack of ingredients also affected the portions of the stuff they 'had'. Some were simply lacking the main ingredient, like the ham and peas -- which features a single, lonely strip of ham. Not over yet... Kid you not. The service was so bad, so evil, that the woman taking care of our table couldn't tell me what was the dish she had just served on the table next to ours. Yes, you read it right, she didn't know what was that she had just served another customer. I'm not one to make restaurant reviews -- actually, I believe this is my first. But this one I had to put out there to spare others from the same destiny. I for one won't be setting foot there anytime soon.

This place isn't really listed in the right category; as well as doing its own bread, it is a full-blown restaurant. My partner and I went this morning for breakfast (a special anniversary treat). Wonderful clean, bright atmosphere. You are seated in a medium-sized 'dining-hall' type room, which makes for noise at lunch and dinner times but is an interesting setting. The service was excellent, with staff knowledgeable about the ingredients. The food took a little while to arrive, but this was because it was made fresh. Portions are generous and worth the price, combinations are beautifully thought out, presentation is high on the agenda. Absolutely stunning.

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