St John in Smithfield EC1 (familiar to those fans of "nose to tail" - I have eaten bone marrow salad there and whilst it was tasty, half way through I got a bit queasy...) St John Bread & Wine is bang opposite the increasingly bland (sob) Spitalfields on Commercial Street. When it opened it's fair to say this area was a bit of a restaurant wasteland but now St John B&W stands out as a jewel amongst the rapidly encroaching chains (I really need to stop being such a grumpy old man, but seriously do we really need a Giraffe in Spitalfields?). I love the fact that their menu is changeable by time, so depending on when you arrive, you are presented with a time-appropriate selection including the option of having seed cake and Madeira late morning. I was only after a light lunch today so I opted for broad bean soup. Oh man - it was good. It was served only slightly warm, coolish in fact and somehow that was the perfect temperature to appreciate the flavour of the new season broad beans. The first thing that struck me was the colour - the most beautiful light green, something that would look horribly 70s as a bathroom suite but was just gorgeous in a bowl in front of me. The soup was thick and creamy but velvety smooth - I know this doesn't sound particularly appetising, but it had the consistency of paint, thick and viscous. Let me try and improve my descriptions when it comes to the taste - creamy, comforting but really fresh, with the odd soft, halved, sweet broad bean hiding in the bowl. I just loved it - and the yeasty, malty St John brown bread was the perfect accompaniment (smothered with top quality butter of course!) To drink I had an old fashioned ginger beer and I finished the meal with the back of my throat slightly burning (in a good way) and my stomach full of wonderful artisan bread and thick, fresh, green broad bean soup - emerging on to Commercial Street a very happy man!