Of all the menus items we’ve ever enjoyed over the years, one is perhaps more memorable than any other. To be honest, it’s also possibly the only one we can recall in its entirety. It was at St John’s in Clerkenwell, London and the date was around when the nineties became the noughties. The menu item was 

Ham   14 

The amazing dish aside, what really impressed us was the pure confidence and conviction the good folk at St. John had to do ‘simple’ incredibly well. Especially when it’s easier to dress something up, perhaps throwing a couple of faddy ingredients in for good measure.  

Multi-ingredient listings look like a lot of thought and effort has gone into the dish because nothing is implied, it’s all there in front of you. It’s curation on steroids. Ham 14 gets your imagination racing, leaving space for you to imagine everything from the breed of pig, the method of cooking to how it would be served. It creates a romantic story that is stoked further when some context, no matter how minor, is provided. This makes you trust in the simplicity and fill in the gaps to assume that it will be a high-quality pig providing the ham, who hopefully lived a pleasant and natural life and that it has been prepared with expert care. 

But why are we telling you this? Well, as you can probably tell, Ham 14 inspired more than just our tastebuds. 17 or 18 years on, it kickstarted one of Blanchflower’s favourite mottos: create don’t curate. 

Oh, and egg, bacon 6

We recommend it.

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