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Restaurant Visit: St. John Restaurant & Hotel in London

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Restaurant Visit: St. John Restaurant & Hotel in London

April 13, 2011

Over the years, Fergus Henderson (a Michelin-starred chef who trained as an architect) has developed a brand of simple, pared-down cooking served in minimally designed settings. Henderson’s approach to food and the dining experience as a whole has become synonymous with the nose-to-tail approach to eating. His restaurant, St. John in Smithfield, which he opened with business partner Trevor Gulliver in 1994, quickly became a destination for the Young British Art Scene.

Now, with the opening of the duo’s new St. John Hotel at One Leicester Square (in a building formerly occupied by Manzi’s “famous seafood restaurant,” one of the last of the long-established theater restaurants in the West End), “nose-to-tail eating” has become “from table to bed” eating. On the ground floor is a restaurant with 70 seats; the second floor features a bar, and upstairs there are 15 guest rooms featuring Shaker-like decor. Go to the St. John Hotel for more information.

st john 3 hotel facade

Above: The refurbished exterior of the St. John Hotel; photo via Parsnips UK.

st john bun menu

Above: The St. John breakfast bun (described by some as an “English-style circular croissant”) can only be found at this hotel. The cocktail list gently reminds of the hotel’s “from table to bed’ ethos. Photography by Jason Lowe

Restaurant Visit St John Restaurant  Hotel in London portrait 5 Restaurant Visit St John Restaurant  Hotel in London portrait 6 Restaurant Visit St John Restaurant  Hotel in London portrait 7

Above: The simple architectural setting allows the cuisine to take center stage.

st john white bedroom

Above: The Post-Supper Room; these smaller guest rooms “remove the need for a taxi home after supper.”

st john hotel 4

Above: The Mini Grand, Urban Hut rooms offer “everything the traveler needs and nothing that they do not.” The flooring material is rubber in a deep, “pond-like” shade of green (for “a calming effect,” according to the duo).

st john zebra chair

Above: The Long Room is a loft-like urban retreat with views of London rooftops; the entire floor (which features three bedrooms and a large living space) can be rented for larger parties. A pair of Aalto 400 Tank Chairs covered in zebra fabric adds a bit of pattern to the otherwise unadorned environs.

Photography of restaurant and hotel by Patricia Niven.

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