The hotel itself is a lovely place to walk into on a rainy afternoon. The lobby is small, mostly a receptionist's desk, entry to the restaurant, elevator and stairs. The receptionists were all friendly and polite. Upon arrival we were told that we had been upgraded from a post-supper room to a room. The difference as far as I can tell is that the bathtub isn't in the bedroom, which is a quirky aesthetic choice I was looking forward to (not that the upgrade wasn't a wonderful surprise). The room is sparse, with a bed, table and a few stools. It's very white and bright with bright green floors.
Photo courtesy of www.stjohnhotellondon.com
Once we were settled I investigated the minibar. It was without a doubt the most amazing minibar I have ever come across. Far beyond the expected Coke and peanuts, there was a wide array of digestifs (Fernet Branca and Poire William being my two favorites) as well as what looked like some very good scotches and half bottles of both vodka and gin. There was also Champagne, cider from Normandy and Italian beer. The half bottles of gin and vodka were the most thoughtful addition. Honestly, who finds one evening cocktail satisfying? Especially when traveling.
An early morning shot of the minibar.
After dinner at the hotel restaurant we took a stroll around Leicester square and headed to bed for the night. A few hours later I was feeling a twinge of hunger, so after taking a look at the room service menu anchovy toast was on its way.
Simplicity is the essence of what St John is about. There are no decorations on the wall and there are no garnishes on the plates; simple, clean, minimal. There were a few experiences where this simplicity was almost aggressive. The feeling was of butting up against a wall, the wall being a firm aesthetic choice. The anchovy toast is a good example.
Full disclosure, there is one slice missing. The smell was hard to resist.
A large piece of toast, what I'm assuming was one slice from the full length of a sandwich loaf, toasted on a grill with some sort of fat and spread with what the staff calls 'gunge'.
It's brown. Gunge on toasted bread. There's nowhere to hide any sort of flaw - this dish must deliver on every level. And, happily, it does. The texture of the toast is given something extra from the fried texture it gets on the griddle, and the gunge itself tastes of more than anchovy (garlic for sure, maybe another spice or two) and has an appealing emulsified consistency.
Salty, savory and crisp. This anchovy toast is exactly what I wanted at 2:30 in the morning. The room, minibar and room service were all truly memorable and lovely experience.s Everyone who can make the trip please go spend a night or two at this unique, aesthetically thrilling boutique hotel.