London restaurant institution St. John will open its first new restaurant in 7 years, when it arrives in the west London neighbourhood of Marylebone this autumn.
The new restaurant, which is scheduled to open on Marylebone Lane on Wednesday 19 October, will function as both a wine bar and dining room, which will offer an all-day menu. Parisian and Tuscan wine bar culture has informed this neighbourhood opening, according to co-founder Trevor Gulliver. It is the first time since 2015, when the group opened on Maltby Street, that the group has opened a standalone restaurant.
“[It is] Inspired by the bars of Paris and Florence, which are all things to all people at all moments through every day — coffee and wine, tartines, and three-course meals, babies and bankers,” Gulliver said.
NEW: the menu will include deep-fried croquette-like stubbies of Welsh rarebit.
“Each St. John sings with its own voice, dictated by the environment and community in which it finds itself. This new addition to the family will provide a rolling feast of many parts, with ample good wine as you would expect”.
For breakfast, the Bermondsey bakery arch — on Druid Street — which now serves the London restaurant and bakery portfolio, will be sending across the brand’s well-known doughnuts and breads, as well granola, which will be paired with yoghurt and seasonal poached fruit.
Between breakfast and lunch, the restaurant will encourage its guests to consume champagne alongside fruit, custard, or chocolate doughnuts because that’s how St. John rolls. Since forever, the original site on St. John Street in Clerkenwell, at the specific wish of owner Fergus Henderson, has served the singular combination of (caraway) seed cake and Madeira for “elevenses,” the name given to the antiquated mid-morning tea break or, latterly, the British equivalent of brunch.
Then at lunch, the daily changing blackboard tradition built at the restaurant’s bar in Clerkenwell and at St. John’s sister restaurant, Bread and Wine in Spitalfields, will move across to Marylebone — mainly comprising small plates, designed to be shared. (Details of which are not yet available.) Though the menu, as is standard for the restaurant group, will be overseen by Henderson and chef-director Jonathan Woolway (he behind the extraordinary and ultimately unrealised migration to Los Angeles).
That menu will be “driven and informed” by the group’s wine list, “with a firm emphasis on the seasonal and local, pulling from the classic St. John repertoire but with touches all its own and nods to culinary luxuries that Fergus so enjoys — a touch of caviar, perhaps,” according to St John spokesperson. The menu and those touches will be “cheeky,” Henderson says.
Regarding the wine itself — St. John’s own wines from its vineyard in Minervois as well as its white-labelled wines from vineyards across the whole of France, will of course be given another shop window. “Celebrated and emphasised,” according to the spokesperson. Those will sit alongside list which featuring bottles from those with whom Gulliver and Henderson have longstanding relationships, from multiple generations of vignerons, plus cuvees from “exciting new winemakers.”
St. John first opened in old bacon smokehouse on the edge of the Smithfield meat market in October 1994. In May 2003, the group opened its second outpost, St. Bread and Wine, on Commercial Street in Spitalfields. It has since opened and closed both a hotel-restaurant in Leicester Square as well as the Maltby Street site in Bermondsey; and had the brief dalliance with the city of angels. In recent years, the focus of St John has been on it its bakery division with a small sites in Seven Dials, Covent Garden, and in Borough.
Now, after an-in-recent-years focus on bread and bakery goods, it looks as if the inimitable group will turn its attention to wine. A flurry of wine bars, perhaps. A British restaurant duo making wines in France and bringing them back to the U.K. for sale in London. After Brexit? “Cheeky.”