Before we all got partners and settled down a bit, I used to go on regular football, food and drinking trips to Spain with some friends from uni. My love of Spanish food developed from trips to Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao and other Spanish cities.
Anytime we meet up (usually in London or Liverpool) the first thought is to look for a Spanish restaurant to try and so it was with this in mind that four of us decided to give the Salt Yard a try on a cold Monday night.
It's normally a good sign if a restaurant is full on a Monday night and as were led through the bustling bar area to a downstairs table the place had a good vibe to it.
The menu is compact with six or seven choices in the meat, fish and vegetable sections of the menu.
The butternut squash gnocchi was an unexpected hit. Served with sweet, golden sultanas, pine nuts and a sage and butter sauce the contrasts of textures and flavours worked really well. My favourite dish of the night.
My friends reported that "an excellent salsa verde didn’t quite rescue the Fillet of Lamb, which didn’t seem well matched with crushed Jerusalem artichokes."
The bavette (flank steak) would have been sent back if it wasn't the last dish we received and we weren't so full already. Served with luke warm onion rings, the beef was chewy, tasteless and very disappointing. I've a feeling this was the last bit of steak they had on the evening (another table near us were told it was finished) and it just wasn't up to scratch.
Overall, though we had a really good meal. It was great to catch up with friends and the relaxed, informal and unobtrusive service added to the ambiance.
You can see why the Salt Yard is a popular restaurant. The beef aside, everything was of a high quality and, like the best Spanish cooking, the kitchen kept things simple and let the quality of the produce shine through.