i used to trek all the way out to Smithfield market to eat at St. John Restaurant. it’s a few tube stops with a transfer from where i usually stay in london and a bit of blustery walk in the winter. plus, you have to get to the restaurant relatively early because all the good stuff on the menu usually sells out if you wander in any later than 7pm.
imagine my excitement when fergus henderson & co decided to open up not just a restaurant, but a hotel smack in the middle of leicester square. while i didn’t stay at the hotel, i managed to squeeze in a good old b’fast during my trip.
the restaurant of the hotel is quite bare boned, like a smaller version of the original restaurant. all white table cloths, simple wooden chairs, and white walls. there was one other table filled, aside from myself, during b’fast time.
the restaurant’s website spoke copiously about the “buns” that they served throughout the day. i felt compelled to try them even though i lacked the appetite to consume the 3 buns included in one order. the breakfast buns were a bit like a cross between a croissant and a cinnamon bun. they were flakey, stuffed with assorted sweet flavorings — i believe one was cinnamon, one was plain, and one had sultanas (raisins in american english) in it. i guess they were sinful, but a bit too rich and greasy for my tastes. here’s a cross section:
i probably should have stopped at the b’fast buns (i ended up dissecting all 3 buns and tasting a bit of each — which probably left the staff thinking i had bad table manners or strange eating habits), but i went ahead and did myself in by ordering boiled eggs & anchovy toast. the staff highly recommended blood pudding & beans, but i’ve never been one for blood pudding . . . something to try for the more adventurous eaters out there.
i quite liked the anchovy toast. it’s a slab of thick country bread, toasted and smeared with an intense anchovy paste — if i had to change something, i would probably ask the anchovy paste to be on the side, so that i could control the amount that went onto the toast — a smidge too salty for my tastes. the runny egg yolks do pair nicely with the anchovy taste — as it helps to cut down on the saltiness.
St. John Hotel
1 Leicester St
London WC2H 7BL
+44 (0) 203 301 8020