Located on the legendary Abbey Road, The Salt House is a stylish Greene King pub and dining room, with a firm focus on its food, to the extent that its role as a pub appears secondary.
An imposing Victorian building, dark and regal looking from the outside, The Salt House channels smart, continental chic inside, with abstract canvases and vintage posters littering the vanilla walls. There is a slightly affected French twist with gold, gilt mirrors, and the low-lit restaurant is set back from the bar, allowing for private dining away from the hubbub of the pub area. The pub also has a covered outdoor area, with patio heaters and benches, which looks accommodating and comfortable.
Despite the obvious efforts made to glam up the interior, the atmosphere remains rather cold, which is not helped by the rather ineffectual service. Little information about the menu is imparted and no recommendations are made. Given its location so close to the zebra crossing immortalised by The Beatles, it pulls in its fair share of visitors to the area, and locals too.
The Salt House offers a comprehensive modern-European menu. There’s an £11 deal for mid-week lunch meals, hearty Sunday roasts and private dining for functions. Starters range from a well-seasoned potted crayfish, watercress and toast (£6.50) to a charcuterie board with toast, cornichons and rocket (£8). Other options include venison and rosemary carpaccio and a lacklustre mozzarella, trio of tomatoes, pine nut and pesto dressing. For mains, the fish and chips, a bona fide British classic, is served slightly overcooked. Prices range from £11-£17.50, with some more unusual options, such as monkfish, chorizo and mussel stew, alongside updated pub classics. Desserts - all priced at £5.50 - sound sweet and sumptuous, although the sticky toffee pudding’s main flavour is an overpowering one of cinnamon.
As a Greene King pub, you might expect a few ales on draught but there’s only a couple alongside a standard range of lagers: Peroni, Becks, Stella are all on draught. You will also find the usual range of spirits: vodkas, rums, gins, tequilas whiskies and so on. The wine list is reasonable, too, with a selection ranging from £15.75 to £22.95 for sauvignon blanc or malbec, plus two rose options for around the £19 mark. The house white, an Arpeggio Catarratto at £15.75, is one of the cheaper options but is good value and more than palatable.
The Last Word
The Salt House has plenty going for it in terms of its smart design and iconic address, however the food, especially seeing as it’s given so much prominence and floor space, doesn’t always live up to the surroundings.