Chef and co-founder Fergus Henderson's ethos showcases seasonal British produce in a simple and unadulterated way. He is a champion of nose to tail eating, treating each part of the animal with the same respect. The menu changes twice a day ensuring the freshest of ingredients. One read of the appealing menu shows that many dishes only have two components and it is rare to see any with more than three. This isn't a place to go for avant garde creations and innovative techniques - there will be no gels, foams, leathers or spherification here. There will be no fancy presentation either - unique crockery, swirls and swipes have no place. St. John is just about the ingredients cooked properly and purely. There is no hiding place in this food - over or under cooking, seasoning errors, balancing issues would be very apparent, but there was none on our visit.
One constant on the menu typifies St John: roast bone marrow served with toast and a parsley salad may seem frugal on first appearance, but it is far from it. The marrow becomes a luxurious rich butter for the toast and the salad gives it a lightness and a freshness. Other dishes delighted too; grilled ox heart was beautifully tender and a pigeon that was perfectly prepared. Desserts were indulgent and decadent; ginger bread and butterscotch was like a warm hug.
St John shows that in age of great culinary innovation or pushing boundaries that you can still excite with just great produce and excellent classical cookery. Fashions, trends and fads will come and go in the restaurant world, but St John's food will always be in vogue - it's timelessness is in it's integrity and unpretentiousness. If you only like going to the latest trendy hotspot then this might not be the place for you, but if you love food then you couldn't not love St John. If we lived in London we would probably be regulars.