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Vanessa

St. John, London

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Guest Carl

Maybe that's the way to get rid of the verminous f*ckers then - eat them into extinction!

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I've dined on the braised squirrel there - it's been on recently.

The flesh is dark but fine - afficionados of acorn-fed flesh would be unsurprised.

There was a certain gamey quality to the guts on toast.

 

I have just had an unfortunate recollection of engaging Johnboy's mother in a rather aggressive discussion of the problems of farming squirrels.

In particular squirrel milk.

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i seem to remember Tuckerman having it once, he didn't like it much but maybe he can elaborate...

I had a try of someone else's. It might even have been Gavin Jones :rolleyes: . It was horrible- gamey and stinky and bony. Yuk!

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Guest Carl

This is the closest I'll get to St. John for a fair while - one of the dishes offered by a lunch delivery specialist in Nottingham. They're generally pretty good meals, and at £3.50 a pop it's simply rude to take the crappy sandwich option. Here's the link:kitchen menu

 

Anyone else benefit from this kind of thing during the working week?

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Guest johnboy

 

I have just had an unfortunate recollection of engaging Johnboy's mother in a rather aggressive discussion of the problems of farming squirrels.

In particular squirrel milk.

Yeah, she remembers that conversation quite well also! :rolleyes:

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This is the closest I'll get to St. John for a fair while - one of the dishes offered by a lunch delivery specialist in Nottingham. They're generally pretty good meals, and at £3.50 a pop it's simply rude to take the crappy sandwich option. Here's the link:kitchen menu

 

Anyone else benefit from this kind of thing during the working week?

You lucky bugger :rolleyes:

 

That menu archive is quite something.

 

I continue to disagree with clb over London being the focus of decent food in the UK these days.

 

v

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carl - that looks great. what a really good idea, just 2 menus a day to keep kitchen time and costs down yet an unusual and exciting menu.

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Guest Carl

I like the way they vary things so much - their own preference is for E. Asian stuff (they took Jan. off to travel around Thailand recipe & ingredient hunting), but they'll always do simpler stuff as well, like roast root veg or the St. John turnip bake. Don't know how they make it pay sometimes.

 

On a slightly less tenuous note re. St. John, I saw Fergus Henderson speak at the opening of a lit. festival in Sheffield towards the end of last year, along with Anthony Bourdain, who were both plugging their respective books.

 

Fergus was obviously struggling somewhat, but was still really engaging. He mentioned that he now has very little to do with the day-to-day affairs of the restaurant, which I think is now mostly looked-after by his wife. I'm sure this isn't news to any of you, but just in case..

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If you can believe it, last night was my first visit to St John Bread & Wine. It was fantastic - friendly service, excellent food, good wine, OK prices, fab bread, and we were out of there within an hour without being rushed - kind of like St John 'lite'. My only gripe is that by the time we got there (9h30) they were out of two things we would have liked to order - crispy duck with frisee and fried sprats; not sure if there was a run on these, or whether the kitchen just underestimated for a Thursday night.

 

We started with grilled pilchards instead, large, seasoned with parsley, garlic and lightly fried in olive oil - lots of flesh. With this, a glass of their Viognier which I think I've had at Big St John. Then I had 10 langoustines with mayonnaise, with a glass of wine from Basque country which began with an "I", the name of which escapes me but which was fantastic - mix of Marsanne, Roussane and the like. E. had braised oxtail with mash and a glass of OK Medoc. My langoustines were large and sweet, sweet, sweet. The oxtail was falling off the bones, with a lovely sweet-sour gravy soaking into the mash I would really like to have tried the ginger loaf with marmalade ice cream but having eaten three pieces of bread, I was pretty stuffed.

 

We escaped for about £45. So not cheap but very good value for the quality of food.

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not sure if there was a run on these, or whether the kitchen just underestimated for a Thursday night. 

 

The kitchen estimates for the day. So what's available in the evening is entirely dependent on how much they've sold at lunchtime and through the afternoon. I'd be surprised if running out of some things by 9.30pm wasn't a daily occurrence.

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I always, always find they've ran out of at least two things if I get there after, say, 8.00pm. They are always the things I want. I can't decide if this means I have excellent taste, or make obvious menu choices.

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I always, always find they've ran out of at least two things if I get there after, say, 8.00pm. They are always the things I want. I can't decide if this means I have excellent taste, or make obvious menu choices.

It probably means that as soon as people hear you've got a reservation, they get their orders in immediately :blink:

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Visited St John just over a week ago for the first time since the Xmas event, we have been putting it off due to the less than enthusiastic reviews of respected board members and to be fair menus that have been quite static and less interesting than sometimes (not surprising during January/February I guess). That being said we have had a large number of very good meals at St John and there are times when sitting there is very relaxing, not having lots of formality etc.

 

As a prelude to a trip to Paris it seemed a good time to go as it would be totally different from anything we were going to eat during the next couple of days. We started with a couple of glasses of champagne, not a very St John thing, but that was the reason for doing it plus they were reasonably priced (unlike Paris) and not at all bad.

 

To start we had Crispy Pig Skin with Dandelion Salad and Smoked Sprats with Horseradish, the Pig Skin, several large chunks of pork crackling (cold) served with dandelion leaves in a very mustardy/oily dressing, the pig and salad were good, the leaves providing a nice bitter contrast to the rich pig, similarly the mustard in the dressing, however there was far too much oil which was not needed particularly with the richness of the pig skin. Smoked sprats were well done, although they are quite bony beasts, which does to my mind not make them ideal for this sort of treatment.

 

Mains were Smoked Eel, Bacon and Mash and Poached Chicken, Leeks and Aioli with side orders of Cabbage and Welsh Rarebit, the Eel was very enjoyable but not all that special, three squares of eel on top of two rashers of bacon on top of a small mound of (warm) mash, I had wanted to try this, the eel was very good, the potato was good but clearly sitting around to long, the flavours worked well together, a nice dish, but execution and value not great. The chicken was very good, deeply flavoured, far too many leeks. Cabbage was good err Cabbage, Welsh rarebit was very good but is often exceptional, it seemed a little less generous topping wise than previously.

 

Dessert was a shared Lemon Pie, this was a slice of lemon tart which had a spongey topping, good though.

 

Service was haphazard, friendly but not always around when you wanted it, I went to the bar for extra drinks at one point.

 

Overall this was a pleasant and largely enjoyable meal with a couple of weaknesses. The kitchen seems to be going through a difficult patch, with standards not as high as previously, service has definitely declined. I suspect and hope that this is the sort of place that can come through this. We will go back again, but whereas we might try and go several times a year, we will probably visit again in the summer to see where they are then.

 

Paul

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