Worth its Salt – We’d heard rumblings on the local tom-toms about a new restaurant on Heath Road, Twickenham. Located quite near to the rather sad, and now demised, Salt Flakes, I admit I had assumed that this new kid on the block – curiously named Salty – was another reincarnation of Salt Flakes…how wrong could I be! Social media can be a good indication of a restaurant’s foodie calibre of course, but when our supreme foodie mates raved about it too, we knew we should check it out. We arranged to meet some friends from Hampton there, early enough to enjoy the ‘two for one’ happy hour cocktails and a have a relaxed meal before having to be out at 10 p.m. – due to the totally illogical curfew imposed on our struggling hospitality industry (but that’s another story for another time!).
Salty is just along Heath Road from the aforementioned other place and is small, but cosy, with contemporary décor. The menu is eclectic but highly interesting (and tempting – I wanted all the starters!!). Armed with not one, but two Al Capone cocktails (the Salty version of a Negroni) I perused the choices and dithered. In the end, I chose the Goat Cheese Mousse Candied beetroots, fennel carpaccio, oranges, hazelnuts and sorrel. My husband chose the mushroom starter and our friends chose duck croquettes and the deep-fried squid. I wasn’t allowed to taste the mushroom dish (which says how good it must have been) but sneaked a taste of the other two and they were delicious. My starter was light, yet rich (a contradiction of terms perhaps?) but it was beautifully balanced, and the hazelnuts added texture and paired well with the other components.
I opted for the steak frites as my main course. Perfectly cooked marinated grilled skirt steak, served with Chimichurri sauce, fries and slaw went extremely well with our bottle of house red. This was Hamilton Heights Shiraz that was sensibly priced at under £18 a bottle. Salty is owned and run by Xhoi (pronounced Joey). He is Albanian by birth but raised in Luxembourg and worked in a number of countries prior to settling in Twickers. He’s keen to support the local retail community and buys as many ingredients as possible from suppliers such as Sandys fishmonger and Michael Brown the artisan butcher.
My husband’s burger was very impressive indeed! And for once it wasn’t served with a piece of paper beneath it, as so often the case! The fries were served with tasty harissa mayo.
The only slight disappointment was the dessert menu: Considering the imagination used for the other dishes, this part of the meal seemed to lack the same ‘energy’ and only offered chocolate fondant or pretzel brownie with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce. And of course, ice creams were available. Anyone who doesn’t like chocolate or perhaps fancied something lighter and fresher to finish the meal could have been disappointed. Not my husband though; he chose the brownie and the tiny taste I managed to steal was very good but very rich. Something with fresh fruit or with a citrus element would complement the menu I feel, and hopefully, this may be added at some stage.
The menu also has some fabulous sounding side dishes, such as broccoli garlic oil and togarashi (aka Japanese 7 Spice), or roasted baby gem with romanesco sauce, or sweet potato chips with smoked alioli. On my next visit, I might be tempted to have a couple of starters with a side dish. Vegetarians are well catered for here, as too are vegans, but they would miss out on those lovely steaks and burgers.
Salty is a very welcome addition to the Twickenham foodie scene, so much so that I rather selfishly considered not sharing this information with you, as it will no doubt become very busy (Covid lockdowns permitting of course).