You might not have heard of Aaron Webster and Remi Williams, the fantastic chefs behind Smoke and salt; but without a shadow of a doubt you will be hearing a lot more of them very soon considering the creations they are concocting at their new pop-up restaurant. Aaron has trained at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Penny Hill Park whilst Remi worked at Deuxave Restaurant, Craigie on Main, which are fine-dining restaurants in Boston, USA. They both met whilst working at one of our favourite London restaurants, the Shed.
The number of covers at Smoke and salt is limited, so they offer a short tasting menu instead, so they can control the amount of ingredients they need to order in each day. The menus are changed monthly, but the same care, attention and inventiveness is delivered from start to finish in all their menus.
Even the bread at the beginning shows their passion for detail: black pepper pretzels with whipped bacon butter. Their kitchen is clearly limited in capacity unlike for example the facilities at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal but the bread feels fresh as if they had their own bakery there. This was swiftly followed by a selection of table treats.
The proper starter course was a very summery and refreshing pea tartare. It isn’t just about sourcing the best ingredients but what you match it with and here the snap peas are matched with an egg yolk, yoghurt miso and watermelon vinaigrette. It is a very clever vegetarian take on a classic steak tartar-esque dish.
There is always the conundrum of not ordering chicken when you dine out because the dishes tend to be too bland or unexciting, but not with the version at Smoke and salt. Their beautifully flavoured smoked chicken comes with corn and ginger, kohlrabi and radish: it reminds you why chicken and sweetcorn are such a popular offerings in soups but delivers the concept to you in an elegant and refined manner.
Their dessert is all about the contrast in textures with fresh gooseberry matched with elderflower infused yoghurt and puffed buckwheat to offer added crunch. Unlike traditional desserts, it doesn’t leave you feeling heavy and bloated but still leaves a delightful sweet after taste as you leave the restaurant with a huge smile.
Smoke and salt is about exploring different cooking techniques to offer the best possible dishes for their diners. We look forward to following the journey of Aaron and Remi as they will hopefully open their permanent restaurant in the not too distant future.