Nobody else in London cooks meat and fish using fire quite as well as Neil Rankin so we were excited to hear the news that he was taking over as resident head chef at John Salt. It’s not easy to follow in Ben Spalding‘s footsteps, but we have every confidence in Neil. We’ve been well acquainted with him in the last year or two both from visits to Pitt Cue and his occasional forays at Maltby Street Market, most recently the pop-up Cornish Bird collaboration with Little Bird Gin and Matt of Cornish Grill fame (who will continue to supply Neil). The steak was to die for.
Neil revealed an example menu earlier in the week, and food photographer Paul Winch-Furness was there to snap some food porn, embedded below. (Paul is everywhere! If you see a beautiful photo of a London restaurant or its food there’s probably a 50% chance it’s Paul’s, I swear…)
Almost 90% of the menu has had some degree of smoke or fire added to it. Even the cold dishes, the salads and a couple of the desserts. It’s my intention to use charcoal and smoke almost like a seasoning. Sometimes its very subtle but you’d notice it if it wasn’t there.
A few examples from the menu are:
- Potted dishes including pork jowl, smoked brisket and shrimp all with sourdough
- Salami cure crackling
- Starters include – raw bass with apple and bergamot; raw beef, pear, sesame, oyster; oysters, lardo, bacon dashi; scallops with peanut and shrimp; crab and fennel on pork skin; scallops, popcorn, bay ice and frozen, cured and smoked loin; burnt leeks, shiitake, parmesan and truffle vinaigrette.
- Mains include Half/whole coal baked crab with bisque butter, green chilli poussin and a whole megrim sole in bone sauce with capers. There will also be rare breed beef, all with bone marrow butter, including skirt steak, sirloin and a 1k rib eye for two.
- Sides include frites with pulled pork, kimchi and cheese, chicken skin hash, cheese and brisket on dripping toast as well as pickles and salad.
- And finally, for dessert there will be brown butter ice cream, salted caramel and peanut sundae; old-fashioned trifle with clementines and bacon panna cotta.