The welcome: beyond the buzz of Upper Street or Angel, Islington still pulls its foodie weight. This new pan-Euroean spot might be small and tucked away on a quietly unassuming spot on Essex Road, but it offers a lovingly curated selection of meat and seafood, with understated, attentive service.
The room: with an open kitchen dominating one corner, closely packed scrubbed wood table and covetable crockery and it's subtly stylish. Amid the buzz of the chefs at work and proximity of other diners there's plenty of atmosphere, but enough intimacy for date night.
The food: The emphasis is unapologetically on meat and fish — though herbivores are catered for (our veggie waiter assured us the Forest Floor main of mushrooms is delicious). We're not talking about a half-hearted chicken breast kind of meat: whiskey-smoked wood pigeon, seared scallops served on a rich reduction of squid ink, 45 days dry aged short horn sirloin and succulent pan friend sea trout make for an indulgent menu.
Sourdough bread served with truffled butter is devlishly moreish, but it's worth restraining yourself. We ordered expecting the steak to be the standout highlight; actually is was the tender hake, cut through with bacon creme, that was a deliciously rich, savoury yet not at all sickly balance. It's the kind of sauce that demands to be mopped up with bread. Oh and the trio of chocolate spheres is at once rich, sour and creamy — pretty much all you can ask for in a pudding. At around £9 for staters and £18 for a main, it's not cheap, but you can taste the quality and care.
Would we go again: if it was our local, we'd be regulars.
|What||Salut! Restaurant review|
|Where||Salut!, 412 Essex Road, London, N1 3PJ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Highbury & Islington (underground)|
01 Jul 16 – 30 Sep 17, 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM