The Fatted Gamer

The St John restaurant in Smithfield is one of the great eateries, the kind of place where food becomes a story, rather than simply fuel.

“We’re going to a place where tonight’s special is deep fried squirrel,” said my friend as we drank Belgian lager in a central-London pub, pickling ourselves in preparation for a feast.

Even my palate didn’t extend to rodents, so the ox heart and beetroot was for starter, followed by a hare pie. Robust food, well-cooked offal. Meat, stock and cabbage. A ginger sponge to finish, perfectly steamed. It’s been a while since I’ve had a meal that made me want to stand up and cheer, and so to eat in the undecorated, unpretentious dining hall at St John suddenly made me aware of how awesomely lazy I’ve been in the last couple of years. My cooking has deteriorated from naive but adventurous to formulaic and staid. I’ve not even been writing about food. It’s been slipping away from me.

To counter that trend I’ve been leant a copy of Anthony Bourdain’s gonzoid report from the oily abyss of international catering, Kitchen Confidential. Food is visceral, and Bourdain’s writing emphasizes, with wretched energy, just what an important part of being alive the substance and process of cooking really is.

He says of eating at St John: “It’s where people who truly love food, who know what’s good about wiping grease off their chins, can congregate without fear, safe from the dark clouds of processed foods gathering over Europe… A meal at St John is not just one of the great eating experiences on the planet – it’s a call to the barricades.”


8 Responses to “The Fatted Gamer”

  • Milko Says:

    Another superb place to eat in London is the “Anchor and Hope” on The Cut in Waterloo. (Yes the name is that way around). Got around to trying it on Saturday and was as impressed as I’d been led to believe I would be. It’s sort of a gastropub really but don’t let that put you off. Great food, menus changed twice a day to reflect what’s good and available. We had beef, braised hare, bottle rabbit, prawns, razor clams and sprat between us and it was all just too damn good.
    Then later that night I went to a party where the nibbles were fresh sushi. Goddamn what a good eatin’ weekend.

  • Aanand Says:

    I hate being a vegetarian.

  • Rossignol Says:

    Vegetarians relapse.

  • Richard Says:

    unrelated, but any idea where I can get a copy of eve online from? Everywhere seems to have sold out…

  • Rossignol Says:

    You can only buy it online now as a 500mb download. Or the client will be on a PC Gamer back issue.

  • john the revelator Says:

    Eating at St John’s made we want to weep with pleasure.

    You should get Henderson’s book ‘Nose To Tail Eating’. Practical, simple and a thing of beauty.

    Henderson: “Do not be afraid of cooking, or your ingredients will know, and misbehave. Enjoy your cooking and the food will behave; moreover it will pass your pleasure onto those who eat it.”

  • Richard Says:

    firewalled. typical uni.

  • Tom Says:

    Meat might not be murder, but this post certainly demonstrates that it’s sick and wrong. I’ll go back to drilling heads and killing cops. Except my graphics card has died. Does anyone know if there are other things to do in life?

    Unrelatedly, this may one day prove useful:

    http://www.michaelbuffington.com/archives/2005/03/five_questions.html