Bone marrow and parsley salad at St John

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St John was pretty empty when we were there, which was odd, since it’s usually crammed. But perhaps it was the fact that, for a nose-to-tail restaurant (some would say¬†the nose-to-tail restaurant), there was remarkable little nose or tail on the current menu.

Buttered toast will never taste quite the same again!

I decide to brave the ox heart, after being reassured by the waiter that it wasn’t too ‘offally’, having been marinated in balsamic vinegar and then cut into very thin slices before cooking, rendering it a steak-like quality (he wasn’t wrong).

But before the ox heart I got the joy of the famous bone-marrow, which I’d assumed came in a parsley salad, given the name on the menu. Instead, it’s really bone-marrow-on-toast with a parsley garnish (which, no doubt, could be corrected by pausing in the right place when reading the menu).

Rather unappetisingly, when I suggested it was basically toast-with-dripping (which I confess I’ve never actually ordered) Chris declared that ‘but marrow is all cells and stuff’. I’m pretty sure all food is ‘cells and stuff’, but I took his point: there’s a bit more going on than just a butter-substitute (in the opposite direction to Olivio!)

It’s really bone-marrow-on-toast with a parsley garnish

That there’s a bit more going on is also evident in the eating. Your mouth is greeted by a complex flavour, outrageously¬†velvety, but meaty, smoky and utterly indulgent. The richness (but not the grease!) is offset by a sprinkling of course sea salt, which cuts through the creaminess. The parsley definitely adds something, and something more than just a hint of healthy afterthought. It’s a fresh flavour, but more importantly a herby complement, and its absence would certainly be missed.

A salad this is not – but buttered toast will never taste quite the same again!

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Custard Doughnut at St John Bakery

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It’s a bit of a trek to St John Bakery, whichever direction you’re approaching from. It’s perhaps a surprise, therefore, to find a hole-in-the-wall outlet under the arches serving only around a dozen baked goods which sees patrons flocking from across (south) London.

“Ultimately, how good can doughnuts be?”

The dozen products are loaves, Eccles cakes, and jam and custard doughnuts. Our mission: the custard doughnut.

In short: I enjoyed it. It was fluffy and light, and the custard was more whipped cream than a traditional doughnut sludgey custard, and the whole affair didn’t leave me with the greasy, heavy feeling you often end up with after your standard doughnut.

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Ultimately, though, I’d have to agree with Tom’s feeling – it was, in the end, just a doughnut, and how good can doughnuts be?

Nice, but nothing to write home about.

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