Saltie Girl London

“Growing up on the East Coast on a sailboat with my Dad, I have a deep affinity for the saltiness of the sea and the fruit it bears. During my travels I have discovered beautiful, high-quality fish in tins, jars, smoked, and of course amazing local and fresh seafood. Being a New Englander is almost synonymous with the briny taste of steamed clams, the salty ocean taste of lobsters perfectly cooked, the creaminess of a local oyster, and the natural sweetness of a Nantucket bay scallop. We are blessed to have such amazing seafood locally. I have long been fascinated by the many ways to enjoy these fruits of the sea. Hence, ‘Saltie Girl – reflects a way of life and a passion for eating nature’s bounty! I hope to bring all these” -Kathy Sidell

Restaurants in this slick corner of London often go one of two ways: leaning into a starched, traditional dining experience or going heavy on flashy opulence. But here is a new arrival which swerves expectations. The clue is in the name – this place doesn’t take itself too seriously. Arriving on North Audley Street by way of Boston at the end of 2022, Saltie Girl gleefully embraces its seafaring menu – think ocean-hued walls, shimmering tiles, shell lamps and mermaid motifs – all (somehow) pulled off without feeling too chintzy. After the OG Saltie Girl (the name references an old Maine term for mermaids, apparently) built up a fan base in New England, the owners opened a saltie sister in Los Angeles and rounded out their trio of girls here.

Of course, we’re still in Mayfair, so it’s unsurprising that the menu spotlights teetering towers of seafood – oysters, crab, chubby prawns with the heads left on, caviar – and raw plates of sushi-grade fish such as spicy tuna tartare or plump raw salmon served with avocado oil and jalapeño. Cheeky nostalgia shines through in the classic prawn cocktail and Waldorf salad (well worth ordering for the tart pickled apples alone). It’s only once you hit large plates that meat dishes start to pop up. But, really, you’re here for the fish, so stick with the lobster waffle (gimmicky, sure, but lots of fun) or the New England lobster roll, served on ultra-buttery brioche with hand-cut crisps. Don’t sleep on the Amalfi lemon meringue tart, which is as pretty as it is refreshing. All of which is best accompanied by something punchy from the cocktail menu – we particularly liked the appetite-whetting basil concoction with gin and more lemon. Sarah James


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