Last night was another of those rare opportunities to meet 'people from the Internet'. Thanks to the good work of Jessica, of Ripe London fame, five London food bloggers descended on the Salt Yard to swap visitor counts at the inaugural 'Blog Fusion' dinner. Also in attendance, Howard, Krista from Londonelicious and the mysterious Monkey Gland from Jam Faced. Truly a meeting of minds.
So, five self confessed food fans, tucking in at one of London's most highly regarded Spanish restaurants. Surely a recipe for a great evening? Quite simply, yes. Entertaining, vaguely food related discussions, interspersed with the odd tale of karaoke and bloggery, punctuated with a series of tasty morsels from the busy kitchen. Wonderful.
Thanks to a cheeky sherry each followed by three or four (let's face it, four) bottles of tasty Spanish wine, records from the period are a little sketchy, but throughout the evening we sampled some or all of the following: two plates of charcuterie selections, one Spanish and one Italian (although the place is predominantly Spanish, there are deliberate Italian themes throughout). The meat was spiky and chewy and perfectly accompanied by a fan of manchego with quince membrillo. Later, some padron peppers (no hidden fire crackers - shame!), a bowl of fried squid with aioli, some unusual but deliciously velvety morcilla croquetas, a double helping of foie gras wrapped round more morcilla, a glorious slab of Gloucester Old Spot belly on herby cannelini beans, chargrilled lamb neck with some slightly sickly honeyed squash, courgette flowers stuffed with cheese, and the tortilla of the day (spinach). And probably some other stuff I've forgotten. And some puddings (now the caramelised rice pudding and rhubarb, I do remember). We weren't picking things to bits in the manner of obsessive foodies - it was a classic, grazing sharing meal, not a gourmet tasting menu. Rather, we were tucking in with gusto and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
And I, for one, will be back. Salt Yard was packed last night. Two big Christmas parties and a number of smaller tables like ours more than filled the small downstairs dining area, and it was full upstairs too. But unlike the comical Scott's experience last week service was smooth, friendly, competent and speedy. And the food was great.
Just don't be late next time, Jessica!
Salt Yard, 54 Goodge Street W1T 4NA. 020 7637 0657