Over the past couple of years, London has seen countless tapas joints open, but Salt Yard – one of the pioneers of the capital’s new Spanish scene, and forefather of Dehesa and Opera Tavern – remains among the best. This understatedly handsome, rather small venue was full for our weekend visit (including the counter seats towards the front window and along the bar), and maintained a pleasant hubbub all night.
Although there are always notable Italian touches on the regularly changing menu, among them minor variations on stuffed courgette flowers or a fine affogato, the kitchen’s skill and attention to sourcing really come to the fore in pitch-perfect Spanish tapas. Sample, for instance, the justly named ‘classic’ tortilla (which maintained its structure despite being oozingly moist) or the simple selection of three types of manchego. Adventures into more unusual flavour combinations – perhaps a warm potato and beetroot salad with nettle pesto, say, or a scallop carpaccio – rarely disappoint.
For wine, a faintly sparkling Basque txakoli rosé was an intriguing if not entirely successful recommendation, partly undermined by a barely functional aerating pouring spout. And our waitress, clearly new to the job, was struggling a little, but some discreet steering by a senior colleague kept the occasion good-humoured.