St John

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The first post for quite some time on Troffers – apologies for being so tardy, we’re trying to work out what the best thing for this blog is.

We’d like it to be about the great food experiences we all have and it’s not like we’re not having these, we just need to find our blog Mojo I think.

I well and truly found it last week.

On a business trip to London, I’d finished my meetings and was waiting to meet an old mate in Smithfield. Over a glass of wine I was hungry but we’d not decided what or where to eat. In fact, i wasn’t even sure if he was showing up, but that’s another story. Wandering towards the tube station I happened upon St John Restaurant. I’d alaways wanted to eat here – the legendary chef Fergus Henderson championed ‘nose to tail’ eating and has influenced a generation of chefs. It is a restaurant with a serious reputation, so I gave it a try.

I love off the cuff. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but sometimes it just so works it’s frightening. Tonight was one of those evenings.

The maitre d offered me a table for two and I settled in to a buzzing, relaxed, white dining room. waiting for my dining partner I perused the menu over a glass of the very quaffable house Languedoc red (great value BTW, not over priced). I didn’t wait for my partner – he was late and I just couldn’t wait to get stuck in to the amazingly simple menu. I opted for food I’d never eaten before in my life – starter was Beef bone marrow with parsley salad and main was lamb tongues with white beans.

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This is kerpow food – big, bold flavours almost daring you to eat it. Wow.

The bone marrow was the poshest, most sophisticated beef dripping on toast and the lamb tongue was the lambiest thing I’ve ever eaten. The tongue was velvety and intense, meltingly soft and the beef was unctious and tactile, the wet salt adding substantially to the pleasure.

The service was sublime, attentive and invisible, relaxed but fastidious. And the price? Well, put it this way, I’ve had highly ordinary meals at Leeds restaurants that don’t even come close to the quality of this experience. The night I was there, a Monday night, was packed with ordinary folks and international tourists – testament to the amazing food and quality of service. Pitch perfect.

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