A Taste of Smoke and Salt
by Chloe Walden - Thursday July 28, 2016 9:07 am
Chapel Bar, 29 Penton Street, London, N1 2PX www.smokeandsalt.com
Smoke & Salt is the exciting new one-year residency from Remi Williams and Aaron Webster – two young chefs who we can definitely confirm are talented. Located upstairs at Islington’s Chapel Bar, with a beautiful terrace that is perfect for when the sun comes out, and a tasting menu that changes monthly, Smoke & Salt serve the very best of seasonal British ingredients with traditional techniques. We headed over to give the five-course tasting menu a go.
When you first see the tasting menu, you think what you see if what you’ll get, but don’t be fooled. Starting with the bread, we enjoyed a black pepper pretzel (that was not in the traditional shape) with whipped bacon butter. Delicious.
This was then swiftly followed by the first of our off-menu treats, including a smoky popcorn, grilled artichoke, and the most delicious, crispy pig-tail balls – which I would have quite happily eaten a whole plate of!
Next, English snap peas with pea shoots and a miso-cured egg yolk. This was quite possibly the freshest dish I have ever tasted – crisp peas and a tasty egg yolk. This was a great start to the ‘Table Treats’.
Then, another one of our off-menu courses – a cured salmon taco with a spicy mayo. This was quite possibly my favourite thing of the night – and my only critique of the dish was that it wasn’t a main course, as I could have definitely eaten more!
We then had the smoked chicken – served with a corn and ginger sauce, fermented corn, kohlrabi, and radishes that, I believe, had been BBQ’d as they had that BBQ’d taste, which was a revelation. The chicken was succulent and moist, with a fantastic smoky flavour that packed a punch but wasn’t overpowering. The sauce paired perfectly, and even the fermented corn tasted great!
Finally, dessert. Sadly, this was the one course that, after such a successful meal was slightly disappointing. The dessert was created with gooseberries, elderflower, puffed buckwheat and yoghurt. The gooseberries and the elderflower were great – however the puffed buckwheat was bitter and unappealing in the mouth, and the yoghurt tasted like crème fraiche that simply didn’t go with the rest of the dish. However, this was swiftly followed by the petit fours, which quickly put a smile back on our faces.
Overall, the tasting menu at Smoke & Salt was delicious and, at £38 per person we would say for such fantastic quality food, good value too. The menu does change monthly, however, so head down quickly to try this month’s. Although we have no doubts next month’s will be just as great.