I love Fitrovia. I love the name Fitz-roooo-via, the fact it sounds so awfully posh. If you don’t know (and I didn’t really until I started working round here), it’s the area between Marylebone and Tottenham Court Road / Bloomsbury, north of Soho and behind the Selfridges side of Oxford Street. I love the fact that there are a million and one great coffee shops, there is Charlotte Street with its bars (I like the Charlotte Street hotel and the bar at the top of Bam Bou) and pubs (Fitzroy Tavern) and restos of every type and price range (to name a few – Pied A Terre and Roka, but also Thai Square and Dim T). There is Harley Street to whiten your teeth and laser your eyeballs, and there is Nandos.
And so last Friday I met an old friend who we shall call Che, for an impromptu catch up lunch at the Salt Yard, which I’d heard great things about. It is sort of posh Spanish tapas, with charcuterie platters as well as hot plates, and the food was pretty awesome. We ordered a glass of Selva Capuzza (Groppello, Lake Garda 2009) (not picked by me but amaaazing, £6.50 each) and tucked into the delicious-sounding menu – they suggest about 3 plates each.
We had the Spanish charcuterie board which was perfect with the wine and very nom, and the Courgette Flowers stuffed with Goats Cheese in a light batter and a wonderful honey sauce which were just mouth-watering (see top photo above). And then Jamon Croquetas with Manchego which were light and delicious too (see photo above).
And then the big guns – the delicious Salt Marsh Lamb with Cipollini Onions, Wet Garlic and Fennel Pickle (top photo above) which was mouth-wateringly tender and just YUM and then Chargrilled Bavette with Pumpkin Caponata, Shallots and Crispy Bone Marrow (middle photo above) which was cooked wonderfully rare and juicy and was probably my favourite dish and finally the Crispy Squid with Sea Purslane and Shellfish Alioli (bottom photo above) which was delicate and light and crispy. The menu is bloody brilliant, we kept stopping to nod and mumble praise at each plate, and I’d like to go back to try other things like the pork belly and chorizo with peppers.
So we then had another glass of wine because it was just THAT GOOD it would be rude not to, and left feeling warm and happy for the rest of the afternoon. We both agreed it was a spectacular lunch – beautifully cooked, interesting and delicious. The downside was that it ain’t cheap – for 2 glasses of wine each, a huge lunch and 2 coffees, it was just under £100 or £50 each and just popping in to sit at the bar to have a glass of wine and charcuterie board to share (which looks ace) would set you back at least £30 each I reckon. But I wasn’t paying so it was all good. And although I wouldn’t make it a regular lunch venue at that price, for a special-ish occasion, it would be the perfect place to take your best mate / mum / beloved for lunch or a wine-and-charcuterie snack, like after Christmas shopping in town. Yes, for me shopping is a special occasion. Alternatively, do like the HPL and wangle an invite for a free lunch.