First look inside new city centre restaurant
PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 July 2019 | UPDATED: 18:38 18 July 2019
The couple behind the successful Norwich dessert bar have unveiled a brand new savoury concept.
If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing the candied-coated, confectionery-laden, pastry crumb-strewn world of Figbar in Norwich…where have you been?
When chef Jaime Garbutt and wife Stephanie opened the doors to the St John Maddermarket café/restaurant three years ago, their counter laden with a Willy Wonka-esque buffet of dainty French financier, mouth-watering gianduja brownies, and sky-high cakes, city folk couldn't get enough.
And that's without even factoring in their main selling point- the spectacular plated desserts, including the signature 'Snickers' - salted butter caramel, peanut parfait, chocolate mousse, peanut praline and powdered nutella.
Buoyed by the success of their concept bar, the couple took the keys to the property next door earlier this year, and officially open Salt - sister to Figbar - tomorrow, but with savouries topping the bill.
Steph's worked her magic, conjuring a space that brings the outside in, with silver birch trees and Spanish moss at the core of the design…while Jaime has flexed his culinary muscles beyond sugar, syrup and chocolate.
"Like a lot of people," Jaime says, "I get an itchy beak and I needed another challenge. Figbar was effectively doing what I wanted it to do, still pushing the boundaries and creating new products, but I thought with this new place it was an opportunity for me to do something to mirror that."
Much like its sweet sister, the counter at Salt is lavished with Ottolenghi-style (Jaime previously worked for Yotum in London) platters and bowls brimming with fresh, carefully prepared, local produce. "It's a more casual way of eating and displaying food. And it's quite a healthy way to eat - it's the way we eat at home."
The countertop will change daily offering between six and 10 salad compositions, from roasted smoked aubergine with cashew Russian dressing and smoked coconut bacon, to roasted butternut with garlic buttermilk dressing, pomegranate, pea shoots and roasted pumpkin seeds, and bulghur wheat and kale salad with fresh herbs, peas, lime juice and toasted mixed seeds and nuts.
Many of these will be vegetarian and vegan…but, says Jaime, that's purely happenstance, not design.
"Unless I told you some of the salads were vegan, you wouldn't know. I'm not a vegan and don't cook that way very often. But a roasted butternut squash salad with an olive oil and cashew dressing, to me, is delicious. It doesn't matter if it's vegan."
In addition to salads, Salt begins the day with viennoiserie from a local bakery, granola, fruits, yoghurts, egg muffins and more.
At lunchtimes there are a range of sandwiches and bites to eat alone or with a salad (think roast beef on caraway brad with sauerkraut mustard, and satay tofu with light coriander coleslaw).
While from midday, Tuesday to Saturday, you can get your greedy mitts on plated savouries. "We'll offer things like pork, apricot and pistachio terrine with pickles and toast, smoked mackerel rillettes with roasted beetroot and horseradish, beef carpaccio with pickled fennel and hazelnut. All the salads will be available too, so you can have a small plate, some salads, dips and local bread boards from Dozen. They are small, interesting dishes that can be single serve or part of a large meal to share with friends and family."
Like Figbar, Salt is licensed and alongside Strangers coffee, soft drinks and beer, has a full wine list that includes sparkling vino from Flint.
"The Lanes have got a lot going on. We are a bit more tucked away and less about passing trade here but people come to Figbar because they want to eat at Figbar and I hope it will be the same for Salt. This is simple food, executed very well by people who love cooking."