Food & Drink
Photo of dish with plate on table

England’s Grace brings Australian cuisine to St Johns’ Wood

A new Australian-themed fusion restaurant has opened in St Johns’ Wood.

England’s Grace combines traditional European ingredients with classic Antipodean-style dishes, to create a hybrid eatery that, on the surface, seems different from other Australian places across London.

The restaurant serves a relaxed breakfast/brunch type menu during the day, before switching to a more refined, fine-dining experience in the evening.

Customers can enjoy Australian delights such as sweetcorn fritters, chicken parm, and pavlova, as well as high-end dinner dishes like roasted guinea fowl – the best evening dish according to manager Rebecca Johnstone.

Having opened at the end of August, England’s Grace is still very much in its early stages, but Johnstone, 28, is already positive about the reaction that the restaurant has received amongst the local community.

She said: “The biggest surprise honestly is how friendly the neighbourhood has been.

“Everyone has been really lovely, and the response has been really welcoming in St Johns’ Wood – everyone is so sweet.”

In terms of what values and traits characterise the restaurant, Johnstone says: “It’s all down to the quality of what we’re putting out there.

“Our chefs are phenomenal – the menu has been designed by our head chef and there’s nothing on there that hasn’t been made without the utmost care.

“The quality of ingredients and attention to detail is really what sets up apart.”

She continued: “Also, it’s all about the guests for us.

“All the other stuff falls by the wayside if the guests aren’t enjoying their experience – we are always making sure that they are having a good time and enjoying themselves.”

While conceding that the customer footfall drops slightly during the evening, Johnstone claims that it is not difficult to manage the seemingly contrasting periods, between chilled-out brunch and measured sophistication at dinner, and deliver consistently great customer service.

She said: “As long as we maintain those levels into the evening, and we do, then the transition is very smooth.”

The man behind the menu, head chef Rafal Jakubczyk, has significant pedigree.

He has racked up two decades worth of experience in London kitchens, with his most recent job being at Tom’s Kitchen – working alongside Britain’s youngest two-star Michelin chef awardee Tom Aikens.

He credits the influence of Allegra Group (the hospitality group behind England’s Grace) founder Jeffrey Young on the restaurant’s Australian sensibility.

Jakubczyk said: “As our founder Jeffrey Young is Australian, that is how the concept was created.

“You can find his influence of all the typical Australian dishes on the menu.”

Compared to the stress of a Michelin starred restaurant, Jakubczyk seems to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere England’s Grace provides.

He said: “It’s a lovely place for brunch – there is great coffee, very classic dishes but with an Australian twist.”

This is in reference to the sweetcorn fritters, served with smashed avocado and chilli jam, echoing Johnstone’s assertion that they are one of the most popular things on the menu.

With new ideas for additions such as Middle-Eastern inspired shakshuka, there are exciting times ahead for London’s newest Antipodean-inspired restaurant.

Image credit: England’s Grace

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