The Salt Yard group restaurants are firm favourites. The likes of Ember Yard and the Opera Tavern are well-known, hugely likeable restaurants with excellent tapas menus and their own distinct personalities. And with such a reputation to follow, we have high hopes for their latest addition, Veneta.
A restaurant in a modern building in central London is a rarity, and Veneta really makes the most of its space, which is also only a stone’s throw away from Piccadilly (but discreetly nestled away on a side street, avoiding the swarms of tourists). A stunning wall of glass at the front curves around one side of the building, giving a grand double aspect. The glass welcomes the outdoors in, and on sunny days the whole facade can be pulled back to make for a grand terrace out onto the quiet street. A mezzanine level sits above, making Veneta actually quite large, although the sectioned off areas still provide a certain level of intimacy.
The raw bar is one of Veneta‘s unique selling points, with an array of different delights from the sea, including oysters, sea bream carpaccio and cured river trout. We opt for the red tuna, which is pleasingly tender and goes well with the sharp apple vinegar dressing. With sardines (never my top choice, but so glad I had it) and arancini (always my top choice, and SO glad I had it), we feel we’ve had a nice mix of dishes for starters.
We go for a selection of fish, meat and vegetable tapas for main course, which includes octopus, lamb and pickled beetroot. The octopus is a pretty picture to look at and not chewy at all. The polenta compliments the flavour well. Lamb is served with shallots and is cooked pink and juicy. Surprisingly, beetroot with rainbow chard and cumin surpasses our expectations – with so many delicious meat and fish options, I always find ordering a veggie dish a little difficult, but so happy we did.
For such a smart place (and smart reputation) the bill wasn’t quite as pricey as we’d expected. In fact, considering everything we’d eaten, I thought it was reasonable for this quality in this part of town.
Veneta could very easily be your higher end go-to choice for those looking for quality assured. A great spot to impress your parents.
3 Norris Street
St James’s Market