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54 Goodge Street
It’s easy to see how Salt Yard’s genuinely shareable, sensibly paced small plates spawned a mini-empire, because its “consistently great food” is leagues ahead of your average tapas. In fact, its top dishes wouldn’t be out of place in a far more formal setting than this bar-like amalgam of bare wood, brown banquettes and brass lampshades. Just consider gooey and crisp smoked eel croquetas on precise dabs of vivid pink beetroot purée, hake fillet and baby artichoke with foaming ajo blanco or rosy slices of Ibérico presa and calcot-style grilled onions with a ruby romesco sauce like pure silk. Cream stools are comfy, but it’s the sharp cooking, keen pricing and ever-changing menu that keep in-the-know regulars perpetually hooked. “Lovely staff” buy into the concept and advise with confidence; we certainly appreciated their suggestion of a classy chocolate mousse with mini-churros and cherries for dessert. The cracking Mediterranean-leaning wine list is strong on by-the-glass options.
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StreetSmart - London restaurants
Best in Fitzrovia
Best Spanish restaurants in London
SquareMeal 2 Stars
From: 01 October 2018
To: 31 October 2018
From: 02 July 2018
To: 02 August 2022
Look for the "£" icon when booking (offers only available on certain days/times)
54 Goodge Street
Goodge Street Tube Station 239m
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 498m
Courtauld (U.C.L.) 151m
Charlotte Street 220m
Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -10pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 2
I have to start by saying that we really don't get the small plates thing. Its a bit like a Chinese takeaway- lots of different flavours; too many of them at once. We prefer the structure of starter/main/dessert or snacks/starter/main, and the gaps between courses. Don't like the idea of ordering what at least a couple round the table will like and much prefer eating when everyone chooses what they fancy for themselves without negotiation and compromise. chosen for yourself alone. Don't like the way the food comes at you so quickly- its food to eat when you've a train to catch. Still we knew all that before we went to Salt Yard , and thought we'd give it a try regardless because the menu looked interesting . Suffice to say that the meal today wasn't remotely close to persuading us that the in-going view was wrong.
We tried a couple of snacks and half a dozen small plates from across their fish/meat/vegetable selections. Everything we ate was palatable , but none of it surprised us by its quality or flavour. The Octopus paled against what you get just down the road at Lima and elsewhere. The Iberico had little flavour beyond that imparted by the barbecue, and was somewhat chewy. The Courgette flower got lost under its strong goats cheese, and everything with tempura (which we like a lot) had batter less crisp than it should be and was somewhat undercooked. Nothing bad to the point that a complaint was warranted, but overall the impression was food that could have been conceived better, sourced better and cooked better with a bit of effort.
And then there's value. The wine list has little under £30 . Our bill for the 6 tapas & 2 snacks , with service , 3 glasses of wine came to £88. No dessert, no coffee, no bread ( which they don't provide without charge). Its not expensive but as I've said before on these reviews, there's no good value pricing for food you don't much enjoy. Service was fine, though as indicated the pace was fairly rapid though I imagine that to be a cooking issue not front of house.
We made a visit to its Ember Yard sibling a couple of years or so ago, and drew broadly similar conclusions. Can't see us trying either one again I'm afraid.
Food + drink: 5
One of the big debates in culinary London seems to centre on experimentation and pushing the boundaries of food (think ‘foam’, ‘reduction,’ ‘surprise’ ad nauseum) versus an emphasis on high quality fresh ingredients, prepared simply yet to perfection. Salt Yard definitely makes a strong case for the latter. The very mention of tapas often, to my mind, conjures a potential minefield outside of Spain. Far too regularly, dishes are prepared badly (or simply appalling; once at Floridita, limp tomato and garlic bread sticks unfortunately in my memory) or restrauteurs resort only to the tired clichés (such as meatballs or patatas bravas). Moreover, tapas – increasingly too an overused term and excuse for restuarants to offer the diner small over-priced dishes – affords the opportunity either to be bold and experimental or horribly traditional. Fortunately, Salt Yard does not disappoint. It does not try and do anything too complicated and what it does, it does exceptionally well, with an emphasis on the fresh and the high-quality. Furthermore, my dining comrade and I were delighted by the egality of the menu for it was quite rare, but very much appreciated that there were a roughly equal number of meat, fish and vegetarian options. Staff were helpful and indicated that six dishes (conveniently two of each) would be an appropriate lunch for two people, and this proved to be the case. While it would be possible to fault the order in which the dishes came (they were brought to the table when ready, and there was quite a big gap between some of the dishes), each was prepared to perfection. Salt Yard pulled off the trick of tantalising me with each dish, leaving me wanting more, but then lifting me up again with the next offering. The crispy soft shell crab, fennel salad and piquilo ailoli was among the best I have ever had. Other positives: a good range of sherries (manzanilla went perfectly with our food) and tables adequately spaced (despite it being a small location). Would definitely return and London needs more places such as this.
Food + drink: 4
By far one of the best tapas restaurants in central London. i often eat here with clients, and friends, and find the food delicious.
The service is great, the staff never rush you to leave the table, which you can often find in central london restaurants, and they are always on hand to help with any questions. on may occasions i havent even looked at the menu and just asked for the amount and dishes they reccomend, and I have never been dissapointed.
I would reccomend anyone who comes to try the courgette flowers, and if you miss the pork belly you are missing out. The menu was refined a few years back to the best of the previous menu, there is little i wouldnt order.
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