Paul Foster isn’t a man who messes around. He started his career in his teens, went on to work at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, became head chef at Mallory Court and won a crop of awards along the way. When he decided to open his own restaurant, he financed it via crowdfunding, raising over £100,000 in 33 days. Within five months of opening, Salt was named ‘Best New Entry’ in the 2017 Good Food Guide Editors’ Awards. No messing around here.
The setting is a Tudor building that oozes history and lends itself well to the slightly more casual approach favoured by Foster – from the furniture down to the custom-made crockery. The small kitchen is visible from the restaurant, allowing you to see the master at work. The menus are reasonably priced, with a la carte available on weekdays at lunch and dinner, replaced by a tasting menu on Friday and Saturday evenings at £55 for five courses and £70 for eight.
Everything about Salt speaks of a man pursuing his dream. Homemade bread, locally-sourced produce, carefully-assembled dishes that are an ode to balance – classic yet experimental, rustic yet elegant. The food is a break from the norm without being intimidating or over-complicated. The atmosphere is warm and homely. When he describes it as relaxed fine dining, Foster really does mean it. It’s a restaurant with personality, the product of someone’s ambition, love and skill. All that remains is to see what he’ll do next.
By Ellen Manning, Warwickshire editor