Restaurants & Bars

St. John's Tavern - Archway [London] - Report

Dave MP | Oct 11, 200906:11 AM

Went with a party of 5 to St. John's Tavern last night - some had been before, but it was my first visit. I was quite impressed, and I'd say this is one of the best meals I've had in London so far. Not everything was perfect, but it was mostly great.

Started with a spinach soup with a poached egg. The soup serving was quite generous - the soup was a beautiful bright green, nicely spiced/peppered and creamy without being too rich. The poached egg was perhaps slightly overcooked by the time it arrived at the table, but it was still just fine. Great presentation, enough so all 5 of us could have quite a few spoonfuls.

Two of us had roast partridge, served with sides of Savoy cabbage and bacon, and mashed parsnip. The parsnip mash and the bacon/cabbage were both fantastic - I wish there had been a bit more of both. The partridge was pretty good too.

Another dining companion had venison, sliced and served with a berry sauce, kale and rosti. The sides were also good, and the venison was tender and delicious. Another great dish.

Pork chop was pretty good, but a bit tough, served with a roasted pear, root-vegetable mash (good, but not as good as the pure-parsnip), and kale. This was probably the weakest of the dishes.

Grilled haloumi was also pretty good, served with a beetroot salad of some sort. I only had one small bite of this.

We shared two desserts: creme brulee had a nice caramel crust, though I thought the custard was a bit more liquidy than I prefer. But the flavor was great, so the complaint here is very very minor. ginger cake served w/ rhubarb compote and clotted cream was excellent - cake was moist and super gingery, and the sweetness was balanced by the tart rhubarb.

The room is huge and quite nice, service was pretty good, wine list was nice as well. The room did get noisy as it filled up, and it was quite busy on a Saturday night, so booking was crucial.

Total bill for 5 people, including 3 glasses of wine and one beer, was about £120, service not included.

I would certainly recommend this place for both people who live in the area, and also for visitors to London who are looking for non-touristy, English(ish) food in a nice setting.

I couldn't help compare this meal to my meal at Bermondsey Kitchen (on Bermondsey St near London Bridge), since the menus were kind of similar (English/European/local foods) and prices were about the same. I thought the food and presentation at St. John's Tavern was much better.

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