Salt Yard, London 

Birthday celebration meals can be a little tricky to organise for large groups I reckon, trying to satisfy different tastes can be a fiddly problem to get your head around and having something that pleases the whole crowd can take some thought!

For a mates birthday, we had a few of these issues to work around and after a bit of research I went for tapas at Salt Yard, on Goodge Street in central London. With specific dietary requirements at the forefront of my mind I was keen to make this was a matter of importance when booking. The staff at Salt Yard couldn’t be faulted in this respect, producing an individual menu for a friend with a severe egg allergy and providing extra fish and veg dishes for a couple who were Halal.

Being the Christmas season the restaurant offered two set menus, at £40 and £45 per person, with plenty of choice on each we collectively decided on the less expensive of the two. On the night, three of the party were running very late and with a need to vacate our table by 9pm, I was a little worried we’d struggle for time and knowing how stressful it can be for staff I was a bit concerned. Forty-five minutes later we were all accounted for and dinner could begin – a steady stream of dishes came thick and fast, it was obvious the kitchen and waiting staff were trying their best to get food to our table, which pleased me no end because I was starving!!

Of all the dishes, my favourites were the salt cod brandade with egg which was beautiful, a perfectly poached egg with a yolk that runs effortlessly and paired with the slightly salty brandade it was a favourite amongst the table, oh also the pork belly (typical I know!). The deep fried courgette flowers were the source of amusement on the plate, but that’s just us being childish and facetious, they tasted great though even though the batter could’ve been lighter. The meat dishes were popular, in particular the pork belly which was one of the stand out dishes of the evening. The bavette of venison may’ve looked like a mess on the plate, but the meat was beautiful, I’ve had better roasted cauliflower though (Ox Club in Leeds!!!).

Not everything was a success with the whole table – the cured mackerel was a little hit and miss, it pretty much depended on which bit you took. Some pieces were chunkier than others making them harder to eat, I was canny to choose the thinner pieces so didn’t have the same problem. The ricotta doughnuts didn’t work for me – the grainy texture was off putting and after trying a couple I sadly left the rest. 

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Smoked almonds
Brown shrimp with rocket and pesto salad
Chargrilled flat bread with homemade butter
Smoked eel croquettes, with beetroot and horseradish, mini chorizo with potato crisp and pickle peppers, crispy squash with salsa verde
Grilled polenta crostini with gorgonzola dulce
Salt Yard chilli and marjoram salami
Manchego with quince
Patatas bravas with aioli and bravas sauce
Cured mackerel with golden beetroot, sherry and shaved Jamon Iberico 
Courgette flowers stuffed with goats cheese, drizzled with honey
Salt cod brandade with poached duck egg, braised cavalo nero and crispy artichokes
Arroz negro with sautéed squid and gremolata
Venison tartare with truffle, aioli, muscatel and sour dough croutons

Confit of Old Spot pork belly with rosemary scented cannelloni beans
Beetroot with goats curd, baby chard and toasted pine nuts
Grilled bavette with roast cauliflower, spiced cauliflower puree and garlic migas
Mascarpone and vanilla cheese cake, spiced apple compote and toasted almonds
Home made Cantucci, bitter chocolate and pistachio fudge
Saffron poached pear, chocolate and hazelnut mousse with crushed Turron
Ricotta dumplings with lemon curd and raspberry compote

On the whole, I reckon the group had an enjoyable evening and the birthday girl was certainly happy with the restaurant choice. We were all pretty stuffed, even though some dishes were loved more than others, I think it’s hard to please everyone with such a diverse menu.

Salt Yard

54 Goodge Street

London

W1T 4NA

http://www.saltyard.co.uk

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