St. John Bread and Wine
The painted-to-perfection white exteriors stand out from the surrounding East London brickwork and create a classic brand image that carries throughout the entire dining experience.
The restaurant echoes the old British tradition of the local butchery, and the clean monochromatic colour scheme makes for a cutting-edge twist on this classic aesthetic with a modern European twist. Greeted by friendly staff, we knew we had found the perfect place to set up shop for the next few hours and work with the buzz of an independent cafe in the background.
Across from the ever-busy Spitalfields Market lies a place to escape from days surrounded by hordes of people in the busy shopping district of Commercial Street. After one such day of meetings and errands, the Paradise Row team were recommended this hidden eatery. Initially only intended as a caffeine pit-stop, the interiors, menu and experience instantly inspired us to curate a record of it on #ParadiseRowCurates. Part of the St. John chain, St. John Bread & Wine was originally opened as a bakery to support its growing business in Smithfield. However, once word got around about the baked goods and British-inspired dining, it opened as a restaurant, bakery and wine shop; with something for every Shoreditch foodie.
After a round of delicious coffee, the temptation to order the colourful dishes we saw arriving at other people’s tables was too strong. I’m sure this is the case for nearly everyone who only intends to visit for a coffee; an open kitchen, smells of a bakery and a brilliant, hand-picked selection of wine on offer make it near-impossible to not reach for one of their menus. Printed daily to support a constantly changing menu, you can be sure that everything served is fresh and seasonal — we even saw a whole pig carried over the shoulder of a chef from the front door to the kitchen (thankfully not still alive).
“No filter would be able to do justice to the colourful food.”
Once the word ‘doughnut’ was mentioned, it was even more difficult to resist the urge; St. John is renowned for its sugary treats, baked right there in the restaurant. After asking our waitress for her recommendations from the vast menu, we decided on the Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish and Pickled Red Cabbage, after being told it was the ‘most instagrammable.’
All we can say about the dish that arrived is that no filter would be able to do justice to its colours, and it will be making an appearance on our feed! The vibrant pink of the dish was a beautiful pop of colour on the beautiful wooden table and the doughnut instantly became a new favourite; the creamy vanilla filling and the perfect sugary dough is a recipe for the perfect Winter comfort food. With a huge selection of fine-dining inspired dishes available on an ever-changing menu, this will be a place to rediscover every time we visit.
As we were still at work, we didn’t get the opportunity to sample the extensive wine list that St. John had to offer, the carefully selected collection is available by the glass or as a place to select the best of the wine shop incorporated into the venue. It was a vital side of St. John we didn’t get to discover, but as a group of people with personal interest in vino, the Paradise Row team will be sure to return for a glass or two… or three.
Words: Hannah Crosbie
Photography: Emilia Joye