I spent quite some time narrowing down the options of which restaurant to go to for my 30th birthday dinner, with my twin sister Jo and my father. Finally I made a list of three restaurants I wanted to try: Lyle’s, Medlar and Salut! (with exclamation mark). The choice was for my father, since it was his treat. He chose Salut!.
Salut! isn’t on everyone’s radar, and I hadn’t even heard of it until recently, when I came across it on Time Out’s top London restaurant recommendations. I liked the sound of it, a small neighbourhood bistro, with excellent food and moderate pricing. Plus I love Islington and would move there in a heartbeat if I wasn’t so happy in Fulham.
Salut! is tiny, so I can understand why it books up so early. It’s very bustling and lively, with an open kitchen – so if you’re looking for something quiet and peaceful, then Salut! is not for you. It’s the perfect place for a celebration dinner, or a dinner with friends. A great place to start the weekend.
I arrived with a stinking cold and wishing I was in bed. But some rich glasses of red Primitivo wine sorted me out nicely. And then the food came and it cured me for a few hours. For starters I really enjoyed a truffle cauliflower veloute, which was warming and delicious. I loved the ‘Preparations of beetroot’ dish too.
The main courses were all excellent. I never go for pork but wanted to try something new, so went for the pork belly which was incredible. I especially liked the romesco, crushed cassava & braised hispi (I have a serious adoration of hispi cabbage) which accompanied the pork. Jo had the mallard which was cooked to perfection, with parsley root and confit swede which again was really good. My father had the red deer with smoked celeriac. The food is beautifully presented and I think we all especially loved their vegetables, purées, and sauces.
To finish we enjoyed a beautiful (and delicious) espresso.
By the end of dinner I felt a lot better. While Salut! is a little out of the way, if you’re looking for sophisticated food in a laid back, unpretentious and cosy environment, then you’ll love it.
412 Essex Rd
London N1 3PJ