Finding a great tapas restaurant in London is a bit like trying to find a cab late at night - they’re few and far between, which is why Salt Yard really triumphs. A cool and trendy eatery just minutes from Goodge Street tube, perfect for a business lunch by day or for a romantic meal in the evening.
The decor is rustic, with solid wooden tables, big wine glasses and white linen napkins. Along one side of the restaurant there is a bustling bar, with high leather chairs where you can view the leg of Serrano ham, waiting to be sliced. Tables upstairs, just opposite the bar, offer great views of all the activity going on below.
The staff are attentive, but not overly so and dressed as you would expect in a top London restaurant. The vibe is cool and airy, especially when they open the big windows on the front on a warm day. By lunchtime, the clientele includes lots of media types from nearby Charlotte Street on business lunches and by night, there’s a more romantic feel, with lots of couples dining together.
Salt Yard is one of those establishments where, whatever you order, you know it’s going to be good. Particular highlights include the mussel, squid and crab arancini, which arrives in a row of five sat on a little dollop of chilli aioli. When you bite into the crispy golden coating, you can immediately taste the freshness of the seafood as well as the underlying hint of saffron and the creaminess of the risotto rice. A selection of charcuterie meats and Manchego cheese served on a heavy wooden board makes you feel like you’re dining in a typical Catalan restaurant after spending the day soaking up the sun.
Dishes range in price from around £5 for the jamon croquetas through to £9 for the roasted scallops with caramelised cauliflower puree. You can easily over order here, especially with a menu as impressive as this; however, staff suggest choosing three dishes per person.
There’s a great selection of Spanish and Italian wines ranging in price from £15 through to £65 for a dry and floral white Rioja or heavy, spicy Chianti.
The Last Word
Salt Yard is a strong contender for the title of best tapas restaurant in the capital.