Having picked up a local paper at The Spoke, we had a look at the pubs mentioned to try and find our new local (after a highly unsuccessful walk around our road). St John’s Tavern was mentioned, so we just went along to have a look. Walking up to the building was magical in a way, as the road was empty and these huge lanterns made you feel like a hobbit. I was disappointed by the beer selection but immediately fell in love with the atmosphere. It feels like all the arty types in Archway come here regularly. We wanted some food and were told we could sit in the restaurant next door. We went through and were confronted with this amazing room. As it was quiet we were allowed to sit in a booth by ourselves. The menu was written up in chalk on a blackboard and we took an embarrassingly long time to decide. For drinks: a pint of Hoegaarden and pilsner for me. The wine selection seems to be much better than the beer here, but unfortunately I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate wine just yet. Finally we decided. For me the Fig and stilton (I know I don’t like cheese) salad, and the pork chop for him. Both were delicious in a gastropub way but without the pretentiousness. The service was exceptional and I was just very content there. More visits and posts about St. John’s tavern are undoubtedly down the line.
So this is going to make me look like both a Bloody Mary addict and an advertisement for St John’s Tavern.
Nursing a hangover a few Saturdays ago, my housemates and I dragged ourselves to St John’s Tavern hoping they would have bloody marys. Luckily they did, and luckily they are amazing (and a bargain at £4.75). Perfect proportions of tabasco, black pepper, good tomato juice, good vodka and whatever other magical ingredients there are in there. Also +10 points for the celery stick; making an alcoholic drink into a substantial meal. A friend said an oyster dropped into a bloody mary is delicious, so I naively ordered an oyster (£2.50) and dunked it in. What a waste. It adds no particular flavour to the drink which doesn’t need any saltiness, and wastes a tasty oyster. While we’re on the topic, I really don’t understand why people, and etiquette, insist on not chewing oysters.
After spending a good week raving about the place, and the subsequent weeks after my first visit, I excitedly decided to visit again for a late lunch on Sunday. We managed to get a table squeezed between some Xmas parties. To start one bloody mary (£4.75), one virgin mary (£2.50 and still as tasty) and the Christmas Olives (£3.50).
To eat, I got spiced pumpkin soup (£6), which came with croutons and pumpkin seeds. Nicely hot and very tasty. He got grilled swordfish, sauté potatoes, spinach, peppercorn cream (£16). The swordfish was a decent size and deliciously smoky, with the grill lines on the fish. I love how simple yet delicious the food is here.