But the real draw at St. John is the chef's treatment of offal; those parts of the animal that some squeamish diners wish would just go away. The appetizer of dried, salted pig's liver with radishes and boiled eggs, for example, is a great way to ease into exploring this culinary underworld. Follow that up with a main course of ox heart and lentils, and you're well on your way to being a real omnivore, British style.

If you're lucky, the menu might offer Henderson's glorious pot-roasted Gloucester Old Spot with prunes, which is more familiar than it sounds. An Old Spot is a floppy-eared, black-spotted white pig bred in Gloucestershire. Traditionally foraged on apples, they are also fed the whey from the region's famous cheese-making industry. One of my personal favorites is the dish called Bath Chaps - the cheeks of a pig, deboned and rolled with the tongue inside, then brined and boiled. "This food is not exotic," insists the chef. "It's high-quality ingredients, simply cooked."

The restaurant's website conveniently lists the daily-changing menu. "St. John is a movable feast, a work in progress," says Gulliver. Avid fans of seasonal game should keep an eye on the News page, where they will be informed ever-so-politely in November that "woodcock season has started," or in August that "we now have grouse on the menu." For those of you just itching to try your hand at preparing a lamb's brain terrine, look for the American edition of Henderson's cookbook, The Whole Beast, which will be published next month by HarperCollins.      
  • Image about Trevor Gulliver

CHEF'S PICK
Domaine Olivier Pithon Côtes du Roussillon Villages La Coulée 2002 ($22)

This southern French red works nicely with St. John's oxtail with celeriac.


WINE LIST