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.
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.