My dinner on Friday at John Salt had been planned last year already. At the time Ben Spalding was in the kitchen and the waiting list had been long so I decided to go as part of my birthday binge. He has since left but as it was Neil Rankin (formerly of Pitt Cue Co.) who replaced him as head chef I upheld the booking. I met up with yet another twitter friend (@CityJohn) and it turned out to be a treat for both of us.
The restaurant itself is upstairs on a mezzanine level, away from the busy bar and music downstairs so it was actually possible to talk without shouting.
The menu consists of “plates”, starter sized portions ideal for sharing and mains with optional sides. We chose to share cod cheeks with tomato, scallops and sardines. There was a mixup as the octopus we ordered ended up being tempura oysters but we didn’t mind as they were really good. We even received a freebie in the shape of a plate of razor clams cooked with wild garlic. Everything was excellent but our favourites were the scallops, roe intact and served in their shells in a fragrant sauce (we were so excited by them that I forgot to take a photo, oops).
For mains we chose the onglet with kimchi hollandaise (John) and the whole megrim sole with bone sauce (me). Both were cooked on the spot with nice sauces, the kimchi hollandaise being especially interesting which would have matched the fish as well. On the side we had a bowl of grilled salad and excellent frites.
For dessert, we had the bacon panacotta (something my companion had not had before) and the rhubarb trifle. The trifle was really good, not too sweet and not too much cream so rather light. I didn’t take photos as they were served in tumblers which wouldn’t have worked well in the available light.
For all this great food and a bottle of wine the bill came to just over 50 pounds a head, including service which I call excellent value indeed.