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94-96 Commercial Street
Proof that classic never goes out of fashion, this sparsely decorated canteen delivers "fantastic British food for adventurous eaters", according
to one reader. Whilst the acoustics might be poor, meaning you may need to shout to be heard, the more casual sibling of the mighty St John is still well worth experiencing for its "relaxed vibe", "impeccable service" and daily changing menu. Breakfast, cakes and pastries are always in demand here – one bite of the Old Spot bacon sandwich, chased by a sweet hit from one of the signature doughnuts, will explain why. But there's much more to explore on the full nose-to-tail line-up, from kohlrabi with brown shrimps and chervil via devilled kidneys or grilled mackerel with beetroot and horseradish to steamed lemon sponge or burnt vanilla cream. The sound but "pricey" all-French wine list kicks off with surprisingly good house selections by the glass.
To celebrate the Year of the Woman, SquareMeal is running a series of interview profiles with top female chefs. Read here about Marianne Lumb’s colourful career as a private chef and the benefits of operating one of London’s smallest kitchens.
Grana Padano has become the world’s best-selling PDO cheese and one of the most loved products in Italy. It has been made with the same passion for almost 1,000 years in the heart of the Po River Valley in Northern Italy using only local milk, and aged from nine to over 20 months. What’s more, 30g of Grana Padano PDO contains the same nutritional value as approximately one pint of milk and it is lactose free due to its long ageing and production process. Real Grana Padano cheese can be recognised by the small diamond lozenges on its rind. So always check there is some rind on the piece you are buying.
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94-96 Commercial Street
Shoreditch Tube Station 388m
Shorditch Station 477m
Brick Lane 175m
Mon-Sun 9am-3pm Mon-Sun 6-11pm (Mon -8.45pm))
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
We ate dinner here last night, and I loved everything about the place! Excellent waiting staff, buzzing atmosphere, delicious food and a daily changing menu, what's not to love? We had fois gras pate on toast, the welsh rarebit (wonderful mustard heat), skate cheeks and tartare sauce (super light crispy batter), cucumber, kohlrabi and brown shrimp salad (divine) and roasted quail with crab apple jelly and a bottle of Picpoul and the bill only came to £73.
People were popping in on their way home to buy the freshly baked bread (which is wonderful) and you can even buy the rarebit topping to take home and make your own.
I am already planning my next visit.
Food + drink: 4
Have been coming here since it opened, and always love it. SJBW is by no means for the faint hearted or picky eaters, the food is pared back rustic with a whiff of foraging in every dish.
Smoked sprats come simply on a plate with a dollop of horseradish. Homemade bread with superb butter is a treat. Duck hearts with loveage or lambs brains in breadcrumbs are done so gently and deftly that whilst you might baulk at the headings or thought of eating such offal, the actual experience is sublime.
Fresh game such as hare, mallard or grouse feature often when in season. the only difficulty is navigating the wine list which is eclectic to say the least - but then again so is the place itself.
Food + drink: 2
Despite telling the head waiter and the waiter serving our table that we had a time constraint the restaurant ignored this and proceeded to serve us at a glacial pace. Everything was slow. When 10 minutes before our planned departure our main course had not arrived, enquiries got the head waiter to explain his approach (based on 30 years experience!) that they do not tell the kitchen to proceed with preparing the main course until the plates from the starter have been cleared. Clearly responding to the customer is not part of his approach. As we were discussing the problem, with voices becoming raised on both sides, the main courses appeared 5 minutes before we needed to leave. I told them to return them to the kitchen as there was no time to eat them. We then left the restaurant.
Having eaten there before with no problems I was very disappointed with the approach they took and the very unresponsive reaction to my complaint.
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