If you live in Crystal Palace and are a daughter of the gentrified masses such as I am, you will probably at some point have bought some fine cheese or charcuterie at wonder-deli Good Taste Food & Drink on Westow Hill, winner of a coveted 2015 Time Out Love London Award. So it is only better news that Good Taste owner Manish Utton Mishra, local legend and purveyor of all things delicious has now opened Salt + Pickle, a cosy, welcoming restaurant across the road showcasing some of their best products, alongside home-cured and pickled treats and a tidy list of craft beers and wines.
There are a few pleasing signs of this place being brand BRAND new – absolutely none of them negative, only delightfully charming. A wobbly table was dealt with in seconds; when I called to push the reservation back by half an hour, there was a giggle of happiness that the reservations software was working as I had been the first person to make such a request. As someone who works in the industry, these little, honestly adorable signs of the excitement from a team at a new opening are utterly lovely.
The place has the homely feel of someone’s living room – minimal and clean in an almost Scandi-way, but warm with inviting wood furniture and soft lighting. Everything revolves around the deli counter where platters of meat and cheese are made to order and wines and beers are displayed, alongside hanging hams and salamis
We asked for information on the meat and cheese and were treated with a proper, knowledgeable description, with anecdotes thrown in for good measure, delivered by Manish – whose enthusiasm for his products is infectious. The key here is quality not quantity – the menu is short but packed full of good things, notably a luscious gin + beetroot cured salmon with a punchy jersey royal potato salad and a spicy steak tartare. A piccalilly with whopping crunch and kick is made locally by a South Norwood-based pickler.
The charcuterie board on this particular evening featured Bayonne Ham, which I always find is served to thickly, but here was sliced almost as a chiffonade, making it all melty-in-the-mouth. Manish and team will serve what they feel is the best produce they have in stock on any given day, which means lots of great excuses for repeat visits. We also drank a great value Monastrell wine at £18 a bottle – the list is brief and totally approachable, good quaffing wines.
Dessert rounded off a truly enjoyable evening, a boozy gin, lime and tonic sorbet – which they should make truckloads of for the next heatwave – and a VERY boozy pavlova ice cream.
A delightful local eatery, destined for good things, run by people with very, very good taste – I wish the team every success!