St John Maltby

Restaurants, British Bermondsey
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
St John Bakery Room (© Stefan Johnson)
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© Stefan Johnson
St John Bakery Room
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St John Bakery Room
3/6
St John Bakery Room
4/6
St John Bakery Room (© Patricia Niven)
5/6
© Patricia Niven
St John Bakery Room (© Patricia Niven)
6/6
© Patricia Niven

A sleeper hit for the St John team, under Bermondsey’s railway arches.

St John’s Druid Street bakery supplies its restaurants (and others) with excellent loaves, fresh custard-filled doughnuts, buttery Eccles cakes and more. It hawks these goods at a Saturday stall which has become a cult stop-off for those heading  to the weekend market on nearby Maltby Street. And now, St John has quietly launched a Bread & Wine-style restaurant under a railway arch on that same street, open Wednesday to Saturday evenings and during the day at weekends. You’ll find white walls, reclaimed pews and chalkboard menus cheerfully scribbled with the sparest of descriptions, with the gentle rumbling sound of trains overhead.

The shareable menu suggests plenty of options ‘on toast’ – St John’s umami-laden anchovy paste, offal such as devilled kidneys, plus Welsh rarebit. Elsewhere, seasonal ingredients are simply served: we merrily worked our way through a whole globe artichoke, plunging its leaves into tart, creamy vinaigrette, then dipped chunky asparagus spears into melted butter. Larger dishes, such as lightly smoked haddock with buttery saffron sauce, were prime examples of the St John style: simple comfort food.

The exclusively French wine list has two dozen options by the glass, all from small producers. A mellow, fruity 2013 edelzwicker riesling paired well with nothing in particular but was easy drinking. The big drawback is that this part-time restaurant takes no bookings, and if it’s busy, you might make a journey in vain. 

By: Nicola Arencibia

Posted:

Venue name: St John Maltby
Contact:
Address: 41 Maltby Street

London
SE1 3PA
Opening hours: Open Wed-Fri 5pm-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-4pm.
Transport: Tube: Bermondsey or London Bridge.
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Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:0
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  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|2
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Tastemaker

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zLfCnGVeL4

Ode to a Doughnut


Hello doughnut, my old friend
I've come to eat with you again
Because a custard softly oozing 

Appealed to me while I was choosing

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of eating

In Maltby Market there they are

Baking doughnuts for shops afar

'Neath the halo of an archway lamp

I stuffed my guts till I had cramp 

When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of other dishes

That split my wishes

And touched the sound of eating


And in the naked light I saw

Loads of dishes, defo more

People eating without speaking

People scoffing without chewing

People eating food that others never share

No one dare

Disturb the sound of eating 


“Fool” said I, “I did not know
Other foods to eat though

Hear my words that I might teach you

St Johns can defo feed you"
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the doughnut god they made
And the review flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The food here is just the best
Are written on TimeOut walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of doughnut” 


Tastemaker

I was surprised by the relative lack of what I thought to be offal on the menu here. Where was the stomach and tongue and things like that? So I settled for the Smoked Herring with Bacon and Mash (£13). I had never had it before and figured it would be relatively safe. The waiter told my friend they had one serving left of a Roast Duck Leg (£13) dish (that wasn’t on the chalkboard menu) which she thought sounded good.


One thing of note was that the mains were either a bit on the small side, or we were starving, because we didn’t feel quite satisfied so we looked to the desserts listed on the menu. Sadly, there was not much of a selection that day and neither particularly appealed to me. My friend however liked the sound of the Ginger Loaf with Butterscotch Sauce (£8). I had a taste and the loaf was decent - moist and flavourful…but the sauce was not something I cared for and the loaf was drowning in it. I don’t like butterscotch and to be fair my friend really enjoyed the dessert.