Nose to tail. That’s what Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver were trying to serve when they opened St. John in October 1994. When I last lived in London, back in 2006-7, I had little interest in trying bone marrow or chitterlings. Now, I seek out restaurants like this to try things that I don’t normally get to eat.
Back in August 2011, I visited St. John Restaurant, but only in the bar area where you can chose from a chalkboard of small plates and beverages. I indulged in bone marrow with a parsley salad and other things that I can’t recall. I was dining with the Vegetarian at the time, and so my choices were limited, unless of course I wanted to eat it all myself. This time, I dined solo in the main dining room (make a reservation) where you can order some larger, entree size plates.
While the service was a little bit lacking, the food certainly was not. I started with chitterlings (pork intestines) cooked in duck fat with dandelion greens, cornichons and a mustard vinaigrette. Honestly, if I didn’t know they were intestines, I’d have thought it was just some delicious pork (which it was).
As my entree I opted to try the lamb kidneys with chard and a Welsh rarebit. I really didn’t need the rarebit, but they talked me into it. The lamb kidneys were split and sauteed with a gravy of sorts and came with slightly creamy chard. It was so rich it had it’s own 401(k).
The rarebit, which on my previous visit I thought was meat of some kind, is actually a traditional English toast topped with a roux of flour, guinness, cheese, and few other things. You top it with worchestire sauce table side for a nice rich flavor. I couldn’t finish either the kidneys or rarebit, but I did my best. I am but one man and I was bested this time.
In the future, I’d like to come here with other friends to get to try a bunch of different dishes. If you visit London and fancy yourself a foodie, this is a must-try. There are a couple other locations with more limited menus and bakery offerings.