Randomness Guide to London - Differences between Version 8 and Version 7 of Salt Yard, W1T 4NA

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Tapas bar/restaurant on Goodge Street in Fitzrovia. It has a sister restaurant, Dehesa, on Kingly Street in Soho. Unlike Dehesa, Salt Yard takes bookings (and booking is strongly advised — the first time we tried to visit, on a weekday lunchtime in September 2008, we were turned away as the place was very full).

No space is wasted inside, with tables crammed in and a dozen or so low-backed seats around the bar. The second dining room, in the basement, is perhaps a little more generously-arranged. Lighting is low, at least in the evenings, and mainly provided by tealights and small spotlights.

Ewan, Kake, Sarah, and Kat visited on a Tuesday evening in November 2009, as the final stop on a tapas crawl. Music was playing rather loudly, and in combination with a full house of people talking made it a little difficult for us to hear each other.

Tuna carpaccio with baby broad beans and salsa verde (£6.50) photo was very good; the tiny, almost sweet broad beans were possibly even more enjoyable than the already-good tuna, and the salsa verde worked well to tie the dish together. Crab salad with quail eggs and gazpacho sorbet (£7.25) photo was also pleasant, though only two of the three quail's egg halves had runny yolks, and the gazpacho sorbet seemed to be suffering from ice crystals (these may have actually been tiny pieces of cucumber or something, but even if they were then the effect was the same).

Potato, truffle, and fontina ravioli with a butter sauce (£5.25) photo were OK (Ewan described them as "a little too subtle"), though redeemed by the very good, slightly lemony sauce, which we mopped up with bread. Duck egg with pecorino, wild mushrooms, and sofrito (£5.75) photo was disappointing; the sofrito was all sweetness and just a bit boring.

Jamon croquetas with manchego (£5.25) photo were perhaps slightly stodgy in comparison with those we had earlier in the day at Barrica, but much better than the ones we had on our in-between stop at Navarro's. Braised lamb shoulder with pumpkin, parmesan, and lemon thyme (£6.75) photo was very popular with our group; the lamb was beautifully tender and the pumpkin no less well-executed. Confit pork belly with rosemary-scented cannellini beans (£6.25) photo was similarly good, with excellently crispy crackling and perfectly-judged cannellini beans.

Kake's verdict: The meat and fish dishes were better than the vegetarian ones, but nothing was less-than-decent, and I'd happily come back in the daytime when hopefully it would be less dark, noisy, and crowded.

Accessibility: A high step up to get in, a flight of stairs down to get to the toilets, and there's very little room to move around inside.

See also:

Last visited by Ewan, Kake, Sarah, and Kat, 10 November 2009. Opening hours taken from the Salt Yard website, January 2010.

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