BACON MY HEART @ ST JOHN Bread & Wine, LONDON – Solo Dining

Halloween was yesterday. However for the past few days I have been coming to terms with something more frightening than: killer clowns, ghouls, witches. Do you want to know what it is? I opened my fridge on Sunday and uttered the scariest line ever:

where’s the bacon?

There is no bacon in my fridge. I love bacon. In fact when I was in my right on teen years and vegetarian for a couple of them – on one fateful Sunday the smell of bacon was all too much that I caved. Yes I wanted to save animals but does bacon count. Having lived in France and visited the USA a number of times I can tell you that no one does bacon like the English. It’s not just the bacon there are several other factors:  the bread, sauce and to butter the bread or not. I’ve eaten some terrible bacon sandwiches in my time. However, sometimes you chance upon the perfect bacon sarnie and it’s so good there are no words. The best bacon sandwich in London can be found at St John Bread and Wine.

Location, Location

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It’s located across the way from Spitafield market – so you can have a wander round the shops in there and then cross over the road for a sandwich.

Good Vibes

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You don’t come here to look at the fancy interior. It is all about the food. St John created by the great Ferguus Henderson is all meat. He introduced the nose to tail eating – nothing is wasted here. This is carnivore heaven, apologies vegetarians. The interior is old school actually it felt like an old school room. The menu is given to you on a sheet of paper or you can look at the blackboard. It is also very relaxed. Your order is taken and then in the great British tradition you are left alone to read, look around or just be.

Drinks & Eats

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I ordered a cappucino and bacon sandwich. I know this is nose to tail eating and there were certain items on the menu I couldn’t bring myself to eat. Kidneys in the morning no thanks. I came for the bacon sandwich and this is what everyone should strive for. Fresh grilled homemade bread, just enough butter so that is when your teeth sink it the bread your fingertips glisten but, most importantly, there is no ooze. The bacon rashers just enough fat and a slight chew. Can it get any better. Yes – the ketchup is homemade. There are times when I am grateful to dine solo and this was it. A meditative moment, musing on the greatness of the bacon sandwich.

As for the cup of coffee; rich, dark, smooth and strong just how I like a lot of things including my coffee.

If you want to experience good meat and the perfect bacon sandwich get yourself down to St John Bread & Wine.

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Baby in the corner? Not at all – not only did I arrive 30 mins before end of service I was allowed to sit anywhere I chose! Now that’s service.

Pricey? My sublime coffee and bacon sarnie cost less than £10.

Where? 94-96 Commercial Street , London , E1 6LZ

How? A leisurely 10 minute stroll through Spitafields market

Open when? Breakfast 8am – 12pm / Lunch midday – 4pm / Supper 6 – 11pm

Website: https://www.stjohngroup.uk.com

Square Meal

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Did you know that for 6 months of the year I work for the French government?

No, I hear you say.

Neither did I, it came as a great shock to me too so let me explain.

August is the month of summer holidays. It is also the month in which the French tax man sends you your tax bill, it appears that some people in France work during August. Welcome to socialism because we’re all in this together! I returned from two weeks in idyllic Greece and her islands to see this year’s tax bill for nearly €4,000 having hoped the projection I had seen in June was wrong. There is tax at source in France and then there is extra tax, everyone has to submit an annual tax declaration to see what extra tax they will have to pay,  what does the latter mean and moreover how is it calculated nobody seems to know or more importantly understand but lots of people spend days if not weeks calculating how to pay less of it. View Post

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You could die in Paris in August and nobody would know until La Rentrée in September when normal city life recommences!

Ok, maybe that is a slight exaggeration but honestly Paris is like a deserted town in August – everything shuts down. I was involved in a bad road accident a few years ago on a work trip, endured 22 hour flight from Australia via Buenos Aires and arrived back in Paris wearing a neck brace. My Parisian doctor prescribed an MRI to survey the damage and check nothing was broken in my spinal cord that was the 24 July and when I went to book the MRI was told sorry Maidmoiselle but the first appointment we have is in September after all it is the holidays. Yes, that’s right: the doctors (replaced by locums), and dentists – my beloved Dr B went for his 3.5 week holiday so I better not crack a tooth –  the post office changes its hours to only open for a ridiculously short period and are closed at lunchtime, libraries open a couple hours a day during the week and are closed on weekends and then all your favourite local shops, boulangeries, restaurants etc closed for a month- bah c’est les vacances quoi – it’s the holidays! View Post

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After all my business trip and an unbelievable, but far too short, 4 day stay in Bali in April I caught a reflection of myself in the mirror and thought who is that person staring back at me? Sometimes when I dine solo in places they ask that solo diners to sit at the counter, bar whatever you want to call it and well can you imagine the discomfort of sitting there worrying as to whether you backside is hanging out. Which is why I have always asked for a table, I may be solo but I want a table and not least because of backside exposure fear! View Post

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After being on the road, so to speak, for the past month on a constant conveyor belt of airplane and hotel meals I was in need to something healthy to kick start my solo dining in Paris.  I toyed with the idea of dusting down my juicer and then I thought better of it – the juicing part is fine it’s the washing up that makes me question why something so healthy generates so much mess.  After a bit of swiping on the Ipad I knew the hidden gem that had just what I was looking for Bob’s Kitchen, Paris. View Post