Londoners walking down Mayfair’s North Audley Street are likely well-used to seeing smart boards; this part of town is a carousel of restaurant renovations and new openings. Lately, one frontage in particular has been attracting attention: an outpost of Boston cult restaurant Saltie Girl, which opens next week on November 8.
As the name suggests, the opening deals with seafood, and is best known for oysters, lobster, caviar and tinned fish — with the latter apparently a particular speciality, given the Boston original presently offers 65 different tins, served with bread, butter and salt. Other dishes on the menu will include clam chowder — JFK’s favourite dish, it’s said — New England lobster roll, fried seabass, fried lobster and waffles, and the likes of turbot, monkfish, and Dover sole. Curiously, Richard Turner — the chef celebrated for the Meatopia festival, his Turner & George butchers, as well as his work with steak specialists Hawksmoor — is Saltie Girl’s consultant chef.
The two-storey restaurant will fit 100 and is likely set to draw a crowd still keen for a “caviar bump”, given the liberal use of the stuff, including as part of a Martini; the olives are topped with it — a TikTok star in the making.
Chef Kathy Sidell, who founded the Boston original, is behind the London opening too, though has partnered with Meraki restaurateur Varun Talreja to make it happen. For the design of the place, the pair enlisting Atelier Wren. It looks as though Siddell is set for a busy week: a third Saltie Girl is opening on exactly the same date in Los Angeles.
Siddell said of her inspiration behind the restaurants: “[It] comes from two places. The first, of course, my upbringing on the east coast of America, spending much of my time sailing with my father on the Atlantic Ocean and eating crispy fried clams, briny fresh oysters, Nantucket Bay scallops right out of the water, Maine lobsters spanking fresh from a fisherman’s boat — these are the tastes and experiences we want to share with our guests. The second inspiration came several years back on a visit to a small picture-perfect, stand-up wine bar in Barcelona that served wonderful seafood, all cold.”
Helpfully for Londoners, she added: “The British are certainly lovers of fish — fried, potted, smoked, sautéed. Varun and I feel that Saltie Girl, offering every iteration of seafood, will speak enthusiastically to the British palate and thatâ¯Londoners and visitors alike will be intrigued by our offerings and the fine food and service that we pride ourselves on.”
Saltie Girl will open on November 8 at 15 North Audley Street, W1K 6WZ. For more information, visit saltiegirllondon.com