- Sarah Ahmad
St John Bar & Restaurant Smithfield, London
Photo by Samad | The bar area
Photo by Samad | Red wine at the start of our night (about £6.00 each)! I have a friend in London who was raving all about this place called St. John in Clerkenwell and how they have amazing roasted bone marrow and I was like "whaaaaat, gotta try that". I have never had a dish dedicated solely to bone marrow ever, unless they're being used for beef stock in ramen or Malay Malaysians sup tulang (bone soup) so I was incredibly excited to know what this tasted like and whether it would live up to the hype. When you arrive at St John, you don't really have to make any reservations because they have a bar area which is very casual and then separate from that is the dining area, which you will have to formally reserve a table for dinner. We of course stayed in the bar because we didn't even bother making any bookings. Note: if you go on a weekday, it's not too crowded. We went on a Monday night so it was very chilled out! We sat at the bar itself and ordered the house red wine to go with the meat dishes we were about to order. I think that the menu changes quite often, however we DID order the roasted bone marrow as it was a MUST-TRY.
Photo by Samad | Roasted Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad (£9.20)
Okay so first up is the famous Roasted Bone Marrow. I must say that although it doesn't look like much, this dish was truly divine and special. I actually cannot believe that before that night, I hadn't tried anything as rich as bone marrow! It's simply made by roasting over charcoal so there was hints of smokiness and it came with freshly grounded sea salt which paired perfectly with the whole dish and the parsley salad on the side. It was unlike anything I've ever tried! Highly recommend you order this if you're at St. John.
Photo by Samad | Cold Roasted Ox Liver, Celeriac and Pickled Walnut (£8.90)
Okay so I was being a little bit adventurous here. I'm actually not a huge fan of liver, but I do like other internal organs like lungs and stomach, especially when fried up with turmeric yum yum. However, liver has a very distinctive taste to it that only suits certain palettes. My partner loves liver so this dish for him was spot on! I was okay with it and acknowledged that it was a delicious plate of ox liver, but I still can't seem to convince myself to appreciate the gaminess of liver.
Photo by Samad | Salt Beef, Potato and Dill (£12.90)
This dish was the safest dish we tried because it was relatively normal compared to everything else! I would equate the flavours to a very tangy potato salad, which I love! The salted beef was delicious and cooked very well, not rubbery and more soft upon biting and I mean, you can't go wrong with roasted potatoes and greens right? I did like it, but I expected something a bit more outrageous, but good to know that they have something that's a bit more of a palette cleanser that you can consume in between the bone marrow and the liver.
Photo by Samad | This is what the casual bar seating area looks like
All three dishes looked like they weren't a lot but actually, both myself and my partner were pretty full after that meal. I definitely would say it was worth a visit and that if you're popping by, order the roasted bone marrow because it is now one of my favourite things in London and in the world, really. St John Bar & Restaurant 26 St John Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4AY Bar Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 11.00am - 11.00pm Saturday: 6.00pm - 11.00pm Sunday: 12.00pm - 5.00pm Phone: 020 7251 0848 Emails: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StJOHNRestaurant/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/st.john.restaurant/ Twitter: