Eating London – Day 1: Fryer’s Delight and St. John Restaurant

by arnold on July 2, 2011

After spending Six Hours in Boston, we hopped on another red-eye to London. We arrived in Heathrow at around 7:15am and hadn’t really slept in two days. But after finally getting into London at around 9:30am and settling into the Russell Square flat where we were staying, we went looking for food.

One of my eating missions for our trip was to find a chippy for some proper fish and chips. I’d read a lot about various chippies around London, but when I learned that The Fryer’s Delight was walking distance from our flat AND fried everything in beef tallow, it immediately got on our “must” list. I ordered the haddock and my wife had the cod. We got it with a side of forgettable mushy peas, but you can’t really go wrong with this as a first meal:

Fried Haddock and Chips at Fryer's DelightFried Haddock and Chips at The Fryer’s Delight

Energized by fried food, we walked our way through Bloomsbury, Covent Garden, and Camden until we ended up at the British Museum, a welcome (and free) sight since it was drizzling outside and my wife doesn’t like the rain.

The main hall at the British MuseumThe main hall at the British Museum

After looking at mummies and other artifacts that were stolen from Egypt, we went back to the flat to rest before for our dinner at St. John Restaurant, Fergus Henderson’s shrine to nose-to-tail eating. The restaurant is in Clerkenwell, which wasn’t that far from the flat, so we walked to dinner. We walked a lot in London, which is funny because at home, we normally drive to places that are much closer than many of the places we walked to in London. I hope this changes now that we’re back.

St. John Still WaterSt. John still mineral water by Hildon

We met one of my wife’s friends at the restaurant, which meant there was going to be more food to sample. :) We started with the Roasted Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad, which is just about as classic as you can get. I loved that there was still meat on the bones for us to gnaw on along with the marrow and toast.

Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad.Roasted Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad

Our other starter was simply called “Terrine” on the menu and contained Middlewhite pork, duck, rabbit offal, foie gras and some other awesome stuff I don’t remember.

TerrineTerrine

Our friend ordered the Turbot, Fennel & Samphire, which she liked a lot, and we all learned that a samphire is a “sea green bean.”

Turbot, Fennel & SamphireTurbot, Fennel & Samphire

I ordered the Roast Tamworth, Carrot & Aioli, a simple and delicious roasted pork dish that came with a nice surprise…a little chicharron. I always appreciate a little fried pork skin when it’s made available to me. :)

Roast Tamworth, Carrot & AioliRoast Tamworth, Carrot & Aioli

Speaking of fried pork skin, my wife ordered the Pig’s Cheek & Dandelion, which features one of the best parts of the pig and also contained some fried bits of pork skin and crunchy breadcrumbs for texture. This was our favorite entrée of the night.

Pig's Cheek and DandelionPig’s Cheek & Dandelion

St. John may be a mecca for meat lovers, but their desserts were also outstanding. The Poached Peach & Vanilla Ice Cream was the best peach dish I’ve ever eaten and is one of my favorite desserts of all time. I love peaches, but I’ve never eaten anything this pure before. Simply stellar.

Poached Peach & Vanilla Ice CreamPoached Peach & Vanilla Ice Cream

My excitement over the peaches didn’t malign my impressions of the other two desserts we ordered. The Chocolate Mousse & Crème Fraîche was a decadent combination, and the Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream was a great showcase for the season’s freshest strawberries.

Chocolate Mousse & Crème FraîcheChocolate Mousse & Crème Fraîche
Strawberry Ripple Ice CreamStrawberry Ripple Ice Cream

You have to order the Madeleines at least 15 minutes in advance, which we did, and they were a great way to end the meal. They’re pretty hefty and we ended up taking a few home and eating them for breakfast the next morning.

MadeleinesMadeleines

My only regret was that I didn’t order the Ox Heart, Beetroot & Horseradish, but overall, I think we had a pretty good first day of eating in London. We returned to the flat to rest up for day two, which featured more English culinary royalty…Heston Blumenthal.

The Fryer’s Delight
19 Theobalds Road
London WC1X 8SL
44(0)20 7405 4114

St. John Restaurant
26 St. John Street
London EC1M 4AY (map)
44(0)20 3301 8069
Web site

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Marvin July 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I love the simple and straight forward presentation of the dishes at St. John, yet everything still looks so incredible. Looking forward to seeing the eats from the rest of the trip.

Reply

Arnold July 3, 2011 at 8:51 am

yup…there’s nothing fussy about this food. it’s just damn good. :)

Reply

Reid July 3, 2011 at 3:49 am

Arnold,

I really enjoyed the food at St John and it looks like you did too. I can’t wait to get back there. Hopefully, I can make it back there soon.

Reply

Arnold July 3, 2011 at 8:51 am

yeah…next time, I want to check out Bread & Wine also.

Reply

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