I recently had the pleasure of visiting Salt and Malt on the brink of Chew Valley lake on a beautiful sunny evening. We arrived early after working up an appetite admiring the weather and the nature, so decided to sit outside with a drink, to make the most of our surroundings. After questioning whether we should sit outside or inside to eat, we were happy to be placed in the window, so we could continue to admire the view in comfort, whilst choosing our drinks. It was situated in the corner, away from the main seating area which appeared to be very family orientated. I started with a semi-local Milford Cider, which is made in Bath, Somerset, whilst my partner stuck to what he knows by enjoying a pint of Independence.
After a little while of admiring the interior of wooden beams and the sailor-esque colour scheme of white and blue, we were shown the tapas menu and I’ll admit that it was difficult to choose… I could have happily sampled the lot! However, I managed to behave myself and opted for a few of the more adventurous offerings, as a first timer of fish tapas.
We shared 5 small plates between us; of which that I favoured, had to be the cod croquettes with horseradish sauce to dip. The fish was perfectly cooked to a fluffy consistency, which contrasted greatly with the crispy breadcrumb shell. My only complaint was that there wasn’t more of them, which is a good thing right? My boyfriends favourite was the battered halloumi which was a bit of a mind player. The batter was not greasy, and they looked exactly like cod bites, so we almost forgot that it was cheese. The usual chewy rubbery texture of halloumi was replaced with moist chunks that fell apart nicely, so I’ll agree that they were impressive. They were accompanied by chilli jam which was closer to a sweet chilli as it lacked the heat but was enjoyed all the same. Following closely in terms of quality was the squid with shallot, chilli, coriander and peanut. Whilst this sounds like a strange concoction and it wouldn’t be for everyone (as tentacles were visible), the ingredients complimented each other perfectly in a strangely refreshing way. The aftertaste of peanut definitely worked in a way that I did not expect!
Another dish that we mutually loved was the buttered brown shrimp on toasted sourdough. The butter had soaked in, so it was an indulgent dish, but we figured we deserved the treat after the hour-long walk beforehand! The bread was crispy, which when accompanied by the soft flavoursome shrimp, became quite the tasty dish. The serving was ample for two which was appreciated as neither of us wanted it to end. Last on our table was the curried whitebait with lemon mayo. They were small so proved to be a perfect, protein packed alternative to chips, but despite the size, they sure were packed with flavour! The light mayonnaise went well as it was cold and bitter with the lemon and herbs. I can definitely see why Salt and Malt is award winning.
Sadly, the tapas menu is only available until the end of the month at Chew Valley, however, I know that some of these dishes are on the ‘small plates’ section of their menu, I would recommend booking in the next two weeks if this post got your taste buds going. But fear not if you’re late, their main menu looks just as delicious, both here and at their second establishment at Wapping Wharf. A lot of which is gluten free. Add Salt and Malt to your list if you’re a lover of the classic Fish & Chips, as you will definitely appreciate their take on it.