Sometimes being a blogger is a hard life! OK, stop laughing, I was kidding! There are some bloody marvellous invitations…
In the biting cold of early January I made my way to John Salt in Angel to attend a test and review evening by chef Neil Rankin, two nights before he opened to the public. As it was a test night, I won’t do a full review as dishes may be tweaked a little in the first few weeks. (But I hope they aren’t tweaked much as I thought they were bloody fantastic!)
Instead, here’s an appallingly badly photographed run through the menu that my fellow lucky bastard diners and I were treated to.
Raw bass, apple and bergamot – one of the only dishes that wasn’t universally loved on the night, the bergamot flavour was too overpowering for some but I loved how it was the first thing to hit followed by chilli heat and finishing with the sesame, though I understand comments that it masked the bass itself a little.
Pork floss, popcorn, bay and smoked loin – one of my favourites; though it sounded a bit “cheffy” when Neil described it, the moment I tasted it I wanted to grab the plate to me and keep it all to myself.
Skirt steak with kimchi hollandaise – there are other places in London making a big deal of their £10 steaks but I’d be amazed if the quality of their beef could rival this Cornish beauty, set off to perfection by the spicy hollandaise.
Whole megrim sole in bone sauce – I was so incredibly full by the time this arrived, all I could do was taste one bite. The sauce was rich and the fish tender, but I was too full to give it fair attention.
Bacon panna cotta – somehow I found my second (or perhaps third or fourth) wind when this came along; a rich, greasy savoury cream full of sweet crunchy bacon; it sounds utterly revolting but it was absolutely addictive.
And lastly, without a photo, an Old fashioned trifle with clementines which was full of boozy cream and rich fruit.
Hopefully you have a good impression, in spite of my appalling images, of just how excellent Neil’s food is. Describing it on the night to a friend who wasn’t there, I said it was “innovative without being wanky” and I think that’s a very good summary; it’s all about great ingredients presented simply but with Neil’s own twists and style.
Pricing is very reasonable, in fact much of the menu is an absolute steal.
And it can only get better and better. So go, soon! I know I’ll be going back as soon as I can!
For far better photos of both the space itself and the food, do look at Paul Winch-Furness’ portfolio. His images are sharp, colourful, lively and beautiful… and actually do justice to the feast.
Kavey Eats attended the test night as a guest of John Salt.
(It’s not common to write about a test night so I did check with Neil before sharing this quick overview of the menu).