St. John Bar and Restaurant Smithfield, London
Tel: 44 207 251 0848
Concierge.com's insider take:
They call it "Nose-to-Tail Eating," and you'll be amazed at the number of obscure cuts that can crop up between those too extremes and end up on your plate. Luckily, the straight-talking menu and knowledgeable staff will explain all, including the all-French wine list. Head chef Chris Gillard's British dishes are inventive but not overcomplicated, such as a crispy pig's cheek with dandelion and a roast forerib of beef with horseradish. End with one of the house specialties, Eccles cake (puff pastry filled with currants), with Lancashire cheese. In keeping with the menu, the interiors are of a utilitarian bent; apart from a few extra skylights and a lick of white paint, this former bacon smokehouse remains pretty much in its original state. A second restaurant, St. John Bread and Wine Spitalfield, opened in a former bank just opposite Spitalfield's Market in 2003, and houses the restaurants' bakery (94–96 Commercial St.).