John Salt

16th June 2013
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.  
I was a little disappointed to see that the much written about Pork floss and popcorn dish wasn’t on the menu, but when I saw burnt leeks, Parmesan, egg yolk (£5.00) on the Sunday lunch menu, I just had to order it. The baby leeks were tender and there was a generous amount of parmesan that seasoned the leeks perfectly. The egg yolk was oozy just how I like it and I wondered how they managed to cook it so well on its own. Do you think it was separated before being plunged into boiling water? Sous vide? Who knows, but it was good!



TBH ordered the ‘Nduja mussels (£8.00) for his starter. ‘Nduja is a sausage native to Calabria in Italy and is made with parts of the pig including the belly, shoulder and jowl. The mussels were small and sweet and the broth had a nice smoky flavour from the sausage that TBH enjoyed mopping the sauce up with the slice of bread served with the mussels.

I didn’t even look at the á la carte menu. I knew I wanted a roast from the moment I had booked the table and I also knew that I would be having the Roast rib and sirloin of beef (£17.00). Served with the crispiest roast potatoes (I could’ve easily eaten 100 more!), roasted carrots and much to my horror, roasted fennel! I cannot bear the stuff. It had been cut in such a way that I didn’t recognise it as fennel until I put it in my mouth! Yuck! Luckily, I had a whole lot of other goodness on the plate. The roast rib of beef was a beautifully glazed masterpiece in cooking. It was tender and fell away from the bone easily. The sirloin was cooked medium rare and well rested, but there was an unappealing layer of fat around the outside that I am sure I would’ve demolished had it been rendered properly, but instead it was left on the sidelines like some kind of wall flower at the prom. The plate was garnished with a couple of wild garlic leaves that were delicious. I had never had wild garlic leaves before and will definitely be seeking them out. 


For his main course, TBH ordered the roast chicken (£16.00). We were pleasantly surprised when a whole baby Poussin arrived with all the trimmings and a nice big Yorkshire pudding to boot. Both the chicken and the yorkie had a nice golden colour and the chicken was still nice and moist inside.  Another enjoyable dish for him. 

I didn’t have a lot of room for dessert, but Oreo, chocolate and peanut butter tart (£6.50) sounded like a combination made in heaven, and it was. The dark chocolate had a wonderful sheen on it, the Oreo base was a little hard but I loved the combination of flavours and all in all I really enjoyed this dessert.  

TBH wanted the Banana dog that he had seen online, but it wasn’t on the menu on the day. The waitress recommended the grapefruit, honeycomb and yoghurt sorbet (£5.00). It was so beautifully presented. I always remember my mom eating grapefruit as part of one of her many diets and remember the grapefruit being so bitter. This was nothing like that and I actually had a bit of plate envy looking over at TBH’s dessert. It was so refreshing and tasted like summer on a plate. 

Service was a little haphazard, but this is primarily a pub and we were seated outside (by choice). The waitress was friendly enough though.  The inside of the bar is gorgeous and I would love to go back to have a few drinks in the pub at night when there is a bit more atmosphere. The total bill for one beer, an Aperol spritzer, diet coke and including service came to £81.00. It’s a good option for a Sunday roast and I will be interested to try the á la carte menu. 

Until we eat again!


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