Monday, 14 January 2013

Who wants yesterday's papers? John Salt January 13 Review

As we review chefs these days, not restaurants, and this 'restaurant' being the notorious John Salt, I thought I'd actually get a write-up in of this place before leaving it to the heavyweights, who are so slow and fogeyish and Victorian in their olde-worlde printed press, they probably still file their copy by carrier pidgeon before waiting a few weeks in The Punch Tavern on Fleet Street for the print unions to decide whether to even bother arranging the hot metal letters and printing a story at all.. And by that time, whatever it was they were writing about was no longer news, but yawningly out-of-date comment that simply underlines their destiny to the vaults of antiquity.

I happen to be so hip, I get invited before the bloggers, so stick that in your DSLR (which I wish I had, cos my pics are crap). 

I'm so early they are still working things out. Hell, the food isn't even ready yet.

Anyway, there I was at the table, ready to sample what Mr Neil Rankin and his sous-chef pal Luke Finlay (you heard it here first) are doing at DJ Jon Carter's (catch the name drop) Upper Street Bub. Par. Bar/pub. What is it that makes a bar a bar, and a pub a pub again?

I won't hang about, as you all know what the place is all about, as it's been reviewed countless times already. Anyway here we go:

1. Potted Jowl with toast. Tasty, teeny bit under-seasoned but I loved it with the little red onions and chillies it came with.

2. Burnt leeks, shiitake, Parmesan & truffle vinaigrette. I loved this, couldn't really taste the truffle though.


3. Raw beef, pear, sesame, oyster. Best starter on the table I think, bit of a kick, really tasty.


4. Baked crab with bisque butter. It might be just me but I found it overly smokey and charred, and I have a personal aversion to baked shell smell. Others who don't care about this will not mind. Please supply some flesh picking implements though!

5. Skirt steak. Good, very rare, but if you eat steak that isn't rare you're a wet blanket anyway.

6. Green chilli poussin. Very tasty indeed, pre-cooked and then deep fried, it tasted to me like a Pizza Express American Hot. I mean REALLY like that. And that's not a bad thing, I absolutely love PE American Hots. Who doesn't?

7. Frites (love the use of French here) with pulled pork, kimchi and cheese or beef dripping. We had both kinds, all very good. I'm not expert on fries, someone at the table said they were like BK fries. Again, not a bad thing.

So that's it. Lots of other bloggers with far better food insight than me (and better cameras) will no doubt tell you much more long winded and elaborate stories, but hell, I'm attempting to get you the info in time for you to actually go and try for yourself, as it'll probably close by tomorrow lunchtime.

N.B. Editors of national newspapers, maybe consult me before sending out the old geriatrics next time, eh?

P.S. Hot off the press, this lot will in a few month's time taking over the kitchens at The Owl & The Pussycat in Redchurch street.

NOTE: I paid for my meal. I got 50% f&f discount.

John Salt on Urbanspoon Square Meal


  1. Since when was it an ok thing to do to 'review' a restaurant based on its friends & family / menu testing night? Deeply unfair, especially when combined with your sneer at bloggers.

  2. Agreed with Lizzie. A first service where the team is finding their feet and constructive criticism is invited in house shouldn't be used as an opportunity to 'get in there first'- especially when you got the food for a steal. Why not go back for a proper service before reviewing it?

  3. Hi, I paid for my meal, unlike the bloggers who went the next day. I don't see why I shouldn't write about it.

  4. Oh. I was told you went to a friends and family night, which would imply that it was very much a non-fully operational evening whether or not you paid for it.

  5. I also paid for my food on the night - which was heavily discounted, and we were lucky to get a chance to try it out before everyone else. It's a free country - but your readers should know that it was a test night rather than a full service. It's only fair.

  6. 1. It wasn't exactly slamming the place, was it?
    2. If you think that was sneering at bloggers, you need to grow a thicker skin.

  7. Seems like everyone is suffering from a touch of 'taking one's self a bit too seriously' syndrome.

    Firstly, I don't buy into any supposed code of blogger/restaurant practice, where we all fawn over chefs and restaurants and write thinly-veiled brown-nosing blog posts in order not to rock the boat and stay on these lists and in the club. As far as I'm concerned if I go somewhere, pay for my meal (at any price) I'm entitled to write about it.

    I wasn't invited to the bloggers night (can't think why) where food was free, so I can only presume I don't bend easily enough or I'm too unknown. Probably both. I don't really care.

    Secondly, I had a communication with Neil Rankin the same day as the post, who was absolutely fine with it, even thanking me at the end, just wondering why I was at that night rather than the other. I told him that if he had indicated that he had not wanted any blogging I would have respected that.

    Thirdly, the post (which was in no way defamatory towards the food, as as the post shows, I loved it,) was not in any way a swipe at bloggers (god forbid), rather, if anything a light hearted poke of fun at the recent Times mishap when they published a review of this restaurant (or chef) a week after it had closed. I even pointed out that others will write much more detailed posts about the food, and that my pictures were crap.

    Finally, it seems that my post did nothing but create a bit more exposure for the restaurant anyway, so that can be nothing but good.

    Maybe what the food blogging world needs to order is a slice of humour pie.

  8. Informative post anyway. Can't wait to try it out myself, as I recently only popped in for a drink. Keep up with the good work!



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