Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Nose to tail eating: St. John Hotel

Fergus Henderson’s nose to tail cooking philosophy summarises quintessential great British cooking. Most excitingly, he now deserves a big congratulations for receiving the surprising first Michelin star for St John Hotel in Soho this month. The menu that consists of hearts, livers, trotter, marrow and kidney is likely to be stomach turning for some, but for me the exciting use of offal was the draw card.

The best way to do a St John meal is in a big group of non-fussy eaters and share a bit of everything. We ordered a veritable feast for five.

Devilled Pig's Skin and Smoked Cod's Roe was incredible, crispy yet melted on your tongue, salty with a little heat from the paprika. The saltiness of the smoked cod roe complemented this perfectly, but could easily stand as a strong dish on its own.

Another highlight was the Snails, Duck Heart and Lovage. I was surprised when my English born dad who we were dining with shied away from the duck heart claiming it reminded him of English boarding school offal. Luckily that didn't deter us more adventurous foodies who dove right in. The dish was an interesting concoction of garlic and soft textures from the heart and snails, definitely worth a visit.

Unfortunately, the Rabbit and Borlotti Beans was a disappointment. The rabbit was under-cooked, making it chewy and difficult to separate from the bone. The Chicken and Trotter Pie for Two (or more like a family of four) is definitely worth splurging for. The pastry was crisp and buttery, with a creamy gelatinous filling.

Desserts at St John are outstanding. Based on our friendly and informative waitress’s recommendation we ordered the Baked Cheesecake with Fig, Honeycomb Ice Cream and a serve of 6 Madeleines to ‘take home’. I’m going to take a big stand and say this is may be the best cheesecake I have ever eaten. It cannot even be described, but oh my, the baked goats cheese with sweet fig syrup is not something you are going to want to share, I'm salivating just writing about it. Equally, the Madeleines were crispy on the outside, warm, soft and fluffy inside, and moorish as hell. Needless to say, they didn't make it home.

St. John Hotel on Urbanspoon

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