Exploring Southwark – St John, Maltby Street:
OK, so it might not be quite on my doorstep – but St John Maltby Street is just over a half hour walk from home, so I’m going to count it as a local. If, like me, you love food and wine and have something of a penchant for offal, you’ll already know the St John group. I have to admit, I’ve done little more than enjoy a bacon sandwich at St John, Spitalfields. But, that’s more because it’s the wrong part of town for me. Being invited to check out St John Maltby Street just made me happy. It’s the sort of place I’d go with friends and spend the evening. And it’s the sort of place where I’d feel comfy popping in by myself for a glass of wine and something delicious to eat.
Wednesday night at St John in Maltby Street is open wine night – when the bar picks a particular bottle of wine and everyone gets a free glass to try. Now, who is going to argue with that? In our case it was a glass of white Château de Lascaux – Les Pierres d’Argent 2009. A fresh herby Langedoc white wine, this is based on local grapes – 40% Roussanne 40% Marsanne 20% Vermentino. The regular house red supplier, someone at St John found a case of white lurking in storage. So, it was our open wine glass – and a very good one too.
We munched our way through a portion of very delicious sour dough bread with some lueque olives. This must be one of the few places where I’d happily just sit drinking wine and eating bread and olives all evening.
Actually there’s a fine if concise list of food to choose from too. Brown shrimp and white cabbage was delicious – a concoction of very finely shredded cabbage studded with plump, salty shrimps. And, Skate, fennel and green sauce just a touch richer with the herby green sauce and fennel complementing the morsels of skate really well.
Devilled kidneys on Toast looked like real comfort food and tasted pretty good too with a rich meaty sauce on a couple of slices of brioche. We’d never have ordered them, but the braised veal breast had finished. No regrets, it must have been karma because next time I’ll be looking out for them.
The salt beef is made in house. Lightly salted and beautifully spiced, it was another plate of comfort food that came complete with a generous portion of horseradish and some braised carrots.
We ordered one dessert between the two of us. Toasted brioche and poached apricots. More deliciousness and more comfort food.
My overriding memory of St John Maltby Street is that I want to go back. The comfort food worked, as did the excellent wine (we also enjoyed a glas of Carignan Noir 2011 Boulevard Napoleon Minervois). I suspect that at the weekends, when the market is open, it’s frantically busy. But, on a Wednesday evening there were no queues and a few free tables, though with a nice buzz to the place.
41 Maltby Street