In London again, and first of all, lunch at the Seven Stars pub, in Carey Street out by the Inns of Court. There’s some evidence that this is London’s oldest pub. The place is run by the somewhat legendary Roxy Beaujolais. This is how she looks on the pub’s website.
I had the cheese and onion pie which in ordinary circumstances would have been way too sweet for my tastes but the dressing on that salad was so wonderfully tart and sour, it was just great.
The external window displays are another attraction, seen below in my own poor photographs. The first one is a replica of Marcel Marien’s ‘L’Introuvable,’ a one lensed spectacle, or I suppose monocle.
and the other is simply labeled Cabinet of Jurisprudence. Yep, something’s dead in there:
Who doesn’t like a Surrealist display and a bit of ironic taxidermy with their lunch? Better pictures are no doubt available, or you could just go there and see for yourself.
Then the next day St John, so reliable, without being predictable. Among other things we went with the oak leaf and snails, yes there are snails in there:
and then sweetbreads with mint.
Photo by Caroline Gannon.
Ya know, sweetbreads were one of the first things I ever cooked for myself when I was becoming a foodie. I used to work round the corner from Selfridges and there they were on display, so I bought and cooked them – somehow it seemed less daunting than cooking, say, a steak.
Our St John waiter was perfectly good if a little more insouciant and lugubrious than you normally get there. I saw on the drinks menu something called Gin and French and I asked, ‘Is that like a dry martini?’ and our man said, ‘Well, it’s more like a wet martini,’ which didn’t explain anything.
We ordered two. They were fine, but I wasn’t sure what I’d actually drunk till I got home and looked it up in The Book of St John p 265 – it’s equal parts gin and vermouth, and obviously served on the rocks. It wasn’t as good as a real St John martini but it was about half the price, so that was something, if not everything.