When we set out for Macclesfield, it had crossed our minds that we’d struggle to get a table in Salt Bar. The Scandinavian restaurant, a short walk from the station in the Cheshire town’s cobbled centre, was featured on a recent BBC series: London restaurateur Russell Norman was offering help to the inexperienced open their own independent restaurants. With that kind of exposure, we were expecting to be turned away.
As we walked into the empty dining room however, we had our pick of seats!
The menu had everything you’d expect from Nordic cuisine: smoked fish, dill, beetroot, pickled cucumber and of course, meatballs. It also helped that the staff were knowledgeable enough to get the gist of our order as we fumbled our way through words like smorrebrod. We ordered from the lunch menu.
Of course, it was not breaking any culinary boundaries but this was my first time eating chicken that had been brined before roasting. This process gave the meat a denser texture that had clearly kept it from drying out, though I struggled a little to find the lemon flavour that was advertised. Irrespectively, the crunchy pickled cucumber provided more than enough tang. Side salads also were true to the restaurant’s Nordic ambitions: diced beetroot and apple flavoured with dill was perfect with the chicken, and the coleslaw was almost too creamy. The crayfish special was also a hit.
The meal was nicely rounded off with a cinnamon swirl, warm and better than any I can remember. It was good food, good value for money but with no-one else eating, the atmosphere was perhaps lacking! I can only assume people were chasing a more traditional Sunday lunch instead.