Back in the smoke to catch up with a Nippon bound friend we arranged to meet at Salt Yard, an old favourite. I was on the back of prepping a Fitzrovia walk and having memorised a range of anecdotes of thirsty thirties Fitzrovians I was definitely in the mood for food.
In a bid to squeeze in a cheeky sherry (it’s nearly Christmas after all) and do the crossword I got there early. And so did he, so the crossword had to wait for later and we both supped a sherry while we looked at the menu.
And what a menu. I could pretty much eat anything on it. Except for the risotto which was billed as arriving with a duck egg.* So we took an intro of thin, raw meat and then two from the top, two from the middle and one from the bottom please Carol (showing my age), along with a bottle of white from Puglia.
The room filled up rapidly and as a large office party was slotted in downstairs I feared that the kitchen might be put under pressure. I couldn’t be more wrong. Our tapas arrived on a smooth conveyor belt of punctuality.
The meat – thinly sliced pieces of pig flavoured with marjoram and chilli – were an excellent way to start. Then, Dylan Thomas style, we took the sweet stuff first; soft cheese-stuffed courgette flowers drizzled in honey. V good. Then the main event – chicken, more oink, squid ink croquettes. The pig was a hefty cube of braised belly and just melted in the mouth. Chicken arrived prettily arranged in a bowl alongside the subtlest aioli I’ve ever had. The croquettes were served I’m A Celebrity style as a row of four crocadilly-like eyeballs, which was slightly disconcerting but delivered on flavour and texture if not looks.
I’d eaten well but I still wanted more so we got some manchego to go with the dregs of the booze before getting a beautiful espresso served in a good deep cup. The deep cup is very good for holding in warmth and aroma isn’t it? With the service charming and discreet it was one of those days where I could have just remained seated for the whole afternoon with a glass of something sticky and then done it all again for my tea. Salt Yard isn’t cheap but you do get value for money.
*I still harbour a deep resentment towards M. P. White for once delivering an un-menu’d egg to me at The Criterion on top of some guff or other that I shouldn’t have ordered.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).