The walls of St. John are awash with more than just white paint. If you get a chance to spend an afternoon in East London I suggest you extend this offal-forward gem an open hand. 

Nestled in between Farringdon and Barbican station—and just a stone’s throw from Smithfield Market—St. John Bar & Restaurant is the beguiling offspring of chef Fergus Henderson and wine aficionado Trevor Gulliver.

Inside, the former smokehouse plays a stark contrast to the muddled streets of Clerkenwell that we’d inhabited moments earlier. Upon entering we were greeted with a warm, firm welcome and shown courteously to our table in the main dining room.

It was hard not to register the clinical design; from the procession of coat pegs that line the perimeter, to the wooden chairs and tables laden with simple wine glasses.

Despite its understated appearance, St. John offers guests the opportunity to taste some of London’s most unique and intriguing dishes. 

We were overcome by this Malbec ordered at the behest of our waitress. It was so delectable that it wasn’t just the hero of our feast but of our entire trip. Château Les Croisille Calcaire 2012

If you’re in the mood for small plates and champagne then St. John is probably not for you. If you’re willing to be sharply confronted and sublimely seduced, before compliantly making your way back onto the pavement from where you came, then it most certainly is.

Utilizing an array of uncommon yet modest ingredients; from roast bone marrow with parsley salad to lamb sweetbreads with white beans, you won’t be short on options for sampling the more formidable of traditional British fare.

The true beauty of St. John is in its understated majesty.

+44 20 7251 0848

Quick facts

St. John is an English restaurant on St John Street in Smithfield, London. It was opened in October 1994 by Fergus Henderson, Trevor Gulliver and Jon Spiteri, on the premises of a former bacon smoke-house