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Square Meal Review of John Salt ?

Following the departure of hot-shot BBQ chef Neil Rankin, who is now firing up the stoves at Smokehouse on nearby Canonbury Road, this noisy, but ‘immensely cool’ foodie boozer is in a state of flux. The current chef is working out his notice and there are plans to revamp the venue in November, creating what the owners call a ‘bar-based offering’. The upstairs dining room will be turned into a more casual lounge, but for now there are still DJs at the weekends and a drinks offer running from London-brewed ales to zesty cocktails – try the ‘beer glass’ Mary or spiced steelbottom (Flor De Cana rum, ginger, lemon, London Fields Hopster and bitters). More details to follow.


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  1. Published : Saturday, 1 June 2013

    edge and spoon :: John Salt

    When the star chef (Ben Spalding) leaves just a few months into the opening of your new restaurant (booked-up weeks in advance, I might add) you’d be forgiven if things went down the pan. But, magically, things haven’t gone that way at John Salt. Whilst it might not be possible to have Spalding’s ‘Chicken on a Brick‘ any longer, you can, however, sample a range of delights from new head chef, Neil Rankin. There’s no pomp and chefery here. What you get is a new take on unfussy, home-style cooking – but it’s not the place to take your grandmother…
    More from edge and spoon »

  1. Published : Monday, 18 February 2013

    Fd Over LDN :: John Salt Part II - All Smoke, No Mirrors

    John Salt opened in November with Ben Spalding at the helm, with his much revered taster menus & bar menu. Much praise was lavished, including from us, but it was all cut short rather abruptly, with Ben replaced with Neil Rankin, former head chef of Pitt Cue Co. Neil was already in talks to go into another one of the 580 ltd group's pubs at the Owl & Pussycat in Shoreditch. Looks like John Salt have pulled another Ace out of their sleeve with this new signing, with food cooked on another spectrum (or a big green egg). With Rankin's renowned expertise with all things meat and barbeque and some rather exquisite Asian...
    More from Fd Over LDN »

  1. Published : Tuesday, 11 December 2012

    LONDONcalling :: John Salt

    I'm fairly sure most of you reading this will have heard a little about this place and the head chef Ben Spalding, ex of Simon Rogan's Roganic. Having worked in a multitude of Michelin starred kitchens finally he gets the chance to show off his extensive skills in this six month joint pop up venture. Prior to this he did a short stint called Stripped Back in a schoolyard serving food to up to eight guests in an open air environment. Now he is in charge of an extremely busy thirty cover mezzanine restaurant and an equally busy bar menu too, which includes a popular non bookable chefs table.Now then. I have patiently...
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  1. Published : Wednesday, 19 December 2012

    Culinary Creep :: John Salt, Islington


    For so long, Islington has been something of a dining black hole. There are plenty of places to eat along Upper St yes, but so many of them are average – hardly destination restaurants. The fact that one of the more popular and anticipated restaurants has chosen to open in little ol’ Islington makes me feel excited for Islington – almost like we’re pulling our culinary weight in London.

    John Salt is helmed by Ben Spalding, a young chef who has worked in several notable kitchens (The Fat Duck, Per Se, Roganic), and now has the opportunity to cook his food and show his vision. Downstairs is a...
    More from Culinary Creep »

  1. Published : Wednesday, 14 November 2012

    samphire and salsify :: John Salt

    John Salt is a “neighbourhood bar with good beer” and resides on Upper Street in Islington. It’s more than just a bar however, it’s the first restaurant from Ben Spalding since he left the kitchen of Roganic. He has taken up a 6 month residency to run the kitchen at this newly renovated bar/restaurant and my gentleman companion and I were lucky enough to have a table during the first official dinner service...
    More from samphire and salsify »

  1. John Salt along Islington Upper Street is noticeably more crowded these days. I hesitate to say that it's like that only after Spalding's sudden departure at the end of December as I've read raving reviews about his cooking while he was the head chef at John Salt. At the time of his departure, he had a full booking for Christmas and New Year...
    More from London Chow | Where to eat in London »

  1. Published : Friday, 20 September 2013

    The Celeriac :: John Salt, Islington

    Islington restaurant John Salt caused quite a stir when it opened under the tenure of Chef Ben Spalding – who made people lick actual bricks for some reason. He then left in a hurry, and was replaced by Pitt Cue’s Neil Rankin, who, it is claimed, was somewhat of a charcoal grill/big pieces of piggy meat hot shot. He’s since upped sticks, and been replaced by this gravy loving chef-man...
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  1. We originally booked John Salt when it was still under the direction of Ben Spalding. Sadly he and the John Salt organisation parted ways, but the appointment of Neil Rankin (formerly head chef at Pitt Que & Co) blew new life into the project and the initial reviews were promising. So we decided to pay John Salt a visit during a rainy Sunday afternoon...
    More from FoodiesOnTheProwl FoodiesOnTheProwl »

  1. Published : Saturday, 20 July 2013

    Brunch etc. :: John Salt

    I've been hearing a lot about John Salt in recent months, and living close by in Angel, I was keen to check it out. Unfortunately, by the time I got round to eating there, Ben Spalding - the chef who made John Salt famous with his innovative12-course tasting menus - had already moved on, and while the a la carte menu still looked very appetising, I was concerned as to whether the food would be as good as originally reported.

    I needn't have worried: our meal there - a casual date night, after a few sunny post-work drinks - was excellent. The food was delicious, the decor was cool, and the prices were pretty...
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  1. Published : Wednesday, 19 June 2013

    Mrs Petticoat :: John Salt, London

    John Salt started off its life as the Eastenders of the London dining scene; drama, drama, drama. Head chef Ben Spalding sensationally parted company with the establishment before the end of his residency despite being booked solid for months. What possibly could have caused this? Was it the pressure? Did he not like the area? Had the owners made one too many ‘Yo mama’ jokes? It has since transpired that Ben refused to have his food diluted to the stage where he was cooking burgers and chips. With his fine dining tasting menus receiving such acclaim, this is hardly surprising. I like a man who stands by his principles,...
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  1. When I was asked where I’d like to go for my birthday, it was clear the long awaited time had come. “John Salt!” I shouted with excitement. I’ve been wanting, and needing, to go to John Salt ever since former Pitt Cue Co head chef Neil Rankin took up residence...
    More from bloke does blog »

  1. John Salt was way bigger than we expected, it was a relief not to be crammed in as seems to be the norm these days. We sat upstairs in the more formal restaurant area, which also has its own bar with warm and friendly staff on hand at all times. We always give a big tick to anywhere that offers us tap water straight away, the John Salt kind was delivered in a white fish-shaped jug that made a mildly amusing glugging sound when pouring...
    More from We Love Food, It »

  1. Published : Sunday, 16 June 2013

    SamTheFoodFan :: John Salt

    There was a big hoo-ha in the restaurant world towards the end of last year when hot young chef of the moment, Ben Spalding, left before his 6 month residency at John Salt in Islington was up. He was quickly replaced by Neil Rankin, formerly of Pitt Cue Co....and that is what made me schlep all the way to North London to try the food at John Salt.

    I absolutely loved Pitt Cue Co when we went earlier this year (read about it here) and knowing that Neil Rankin was an absolute master with the BBQ and slow cooked meats, I just had to give his Sunday Roast a try...
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  1. Published : Thursday, 10 October 2013

    sexdrugsandbaconrolls :: John Salt

    We had high hopes for John Salt, a trendy café/restaurant/bar in Islington as the food menu and website was simple yet well nice little details. The restaurant is based at the end of Long Street nearer Kentish town/Hampstead and so is off the main tourist route.

    There are two floors to the restaurant, the downstairs which has a vast bar and leather sofas as well as benches for diners near the window. Upstairs there is a balcony floor a quarter of the size of downstairs and this is dedicated to food. The restaurant/bar is extremely simple in style. Plain cement floors with brick bare walls in an almost warehouse...
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  1. Published : Monday, 21 January 2013

    Samphire and Salsify :: John Salt with Neil Rankin

    Two months ago I had dinner at John Salt on Upper Street in Islington. It’s a neighbourhood bar and restaurant which was home to Ben Spalding for a 6 month residency and I thought it was rather bloomin’ lovely. After hearing the news that Ben and John Salt had sadly parted ways four months early (meaning I wouldn’t be able to return and try his 45 ingredient salad) I was curious as to who would replace him.

    That man is baseball cap wearing Neil Rankin, former head chef at Pitt Cue Co (the kings of pulled pork). I ate there when he was behind the grills and absolutely loved it but have never had the chance...
    More from Samphire and Salsify »

  1. Published : Thursday, 31 January 2013

    The F World :: Neil Rankin at John Salt, Islington

    Chef Neil Rankin (former Pitt Cue Co.) has finally started his residence at John Salt in Islington, after a short stint in the kitchen by Ben Spalding. I came, I saw, I was conquered by the food – “like porn for carnivores- meat with everything” to quote a friend- I liked everything except an unfortunate plate of soggy fries and the clubby atmosphere. Here’s the laydown of a much-anticipated evening of (good) food and (bad) music...
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Essential Details for John Salt

  • Address: 131 Upper Street, London N1 1QP
  • Telephone: 020 7359 7501
  • Website:
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 12N-12M (Fri -1am) Sat 11am-1am Sun 11am-11pm
  • Cuisine: Fusion
  • Area: Islington Barnsbury
  • Price: £43.00
  • Wine: £19.00
  • Champagne: £50.00
  • Dinner: ££28/£56/£85 (4/8/12 courses)

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