In what was a bank, the casual outlet of St John delivered a rather odd meal. A starter of mackerel with horseradish was dazzling, with very fresh mackerel with glistening skin, very nicely cooked served just with very strong horseradish – a delightfully simple dish (16/20). For the main course a whole sea bass was roasted, and this was well made (14/20) yet there were no vegetables at all served with it, nor even any available as a side dish: this was just eccentric. Bread was pleasant and made on the premises, though it was a bit heavy (13/20) - this is all the stranger as I have had St John's bread at other restaurants in London, and it usually very good. Wine prices were fair e.g. Trimbach Riesling 2003 at £28. The service was very slow, with long gaps: these two very simple courses took two and a quarter hours to deliver.
I recently ate at the original location near Smithfield Market. All in all, a highly disappointing experience. The space was ridiculously loud, so much so that my dining companion and I had to shout at each other, and even then we had trouble hearing. We ordered three courses, but the inexplicable 45-minute wait between each course meant that we were stuck in the restaurant for more than two hours. The food preparation itself was amateurish. The much-hyped marrow bones were, well, marrow bones--tough to mess up, although the marrow here was a little grey, likely from under-soaking. The stewed tripe was too salty to eat, and I'm one who usually craves salt. My companion's Welsh rarebit had a mouth-searing quantity of mustard and tasted of little else. Finally, the crust on the Eccles cake that came with Lancashire cheese was so hard that I nearly broke a tooth on it--the thing may well have been stale.
I went to St John recently after repeatedly being voted in the San Pellegrino top 50 restaurants in the world and from glitterng praise from Anthony Bourdain, whom I admire, so I thought it would be a good meal. I had the starter of roast bone marrow and parsley salad followd by the ox heart with carrots and horseradish cream. It was without doubt one of the worst meals I have ever had, my girlfriend had pigeon and had to send it back, something we have never done whilst eating together. I was left distinctly underwhelmed, the food was boring and poorly cooked, it was bland and under seasoned. I had a meal at an indistinguished chinese in Manchester only 2 days later that contained ox heart, ox tongue and tripe andthis was far superior. I was deeply dissapointed.
you should try their madeleines... very very good. (and I'm not a fan of madeleines at all)