Salt & Malt, Cargo 2, Wapping Wharf: Review

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We’re huge fans of the original Salt & Malt, which overlooks the beautiful Chew Valley Lake. You can read our review here. Top notch fish and chips by the water, in a stunning restaurant with great service – what could be better?

So, when Josh Eggleton and his team opened a second Salt & Malt restaurant in shipping container retail unit Cargo 2, just a minute’s walk from our front door, we were excited. Very excited.

So, did it live up to expectations…?

There’s no denying that it’s a beautifully decorated restaurant: it’s got a very nautical feel, with rope-entwined lights hanging from the ceiling, pencils sketches of various fish and seafood on the walls, and the staff in stripy t-shirts. I was surprised that we were able to get a table on a busy Saturday night on the harbourside, but we walked straight in to space at the long, bench-style seating around the edge of the restaurant, and moved to a regular table once a previous party of diners had left.

The restaurant is separated from the takeaway area, which has its own counter and waiting area: it was ridiculously busy on the night of our visit, with food served in classic cardboard boxes, and the smell of salt and vinegar pervading the restaurant.

 

Salt & Malt, Cargo 2 - Counter

 

The restaurant menu may be fairly short, but includes all the fish and chip shop favourites you’d expect to see: various types of battered fish and fishcakes, bangers and battered bangers, and sides that include curry sauce, crushed garden peas, sourdough and butter…and a very reasonably priced kids’ menu too. There’s battered halloumi for vegetarians/non-fish eaters, and it’s great to see that not only is all of their fish sustainably sourced, but that both the batter and the chips are gluten-free, making it a great shout for those with a gluten intolerance or allergy.

There’s also a sizeable specials board hanging from one wall, its contents struck through with chalk once they run out. On the night of our visit, we could have chosen from options such as spiced crab in baby gem lettuce, crispy monkfish cheeks with Korean BBQ sauce and cod in a bun.

The drinks menu is huge, considering the size of the place, with wines from England and further afield, alongside local and mainstream ciders and beers (including a gluten-free Estrella), tea and coffee, a few spirits and a range of soft drinks.

For Chris, it was all about the classic haddock and chips, and his large haddock (£12.50) was certainly impressive in its size. Served on a silver tray, it sat on top of a huge mound of proper chippie chips, less soggy than the classics and with more lovely crispy bits too.

The fish itself was perfectly cooked, but while the batter looked the part – beautifully golden and crispy – there just wasn’t enough of it, it was far too thin. The peas, though, were superb: a vibrantly green, super fresh-flavoured portion of a blend of crushed and whole peas.

At the other Salt & Malt restaurant, we were a bit disappointed by the size of the lemon slices we were presented with, and it was the same case here – for a piece of fish this size, he’d have definitely liked more. It was also surprising that the tartare sauce, which the menu claims is served with every fish dish, didn’t arrive – after asking for it, though, it was a little disappointing, with too much mayo and not enough sharpness from the other ingredients.

 

Salt & Malt, Cargo 2 - Large Haddock

 

I’m ever so slightly obsessed with halloumi, and the battered halloumi with chips, seasonal salad and a tomato chilli jam (£8.50) leapt out at me instantly – especially after enjoying it at Sea Pearl on East Street earlier this year. There, though, the portions were a little stingy for the price…here, I wasn’t disappointed. The crisp, golden batter gave way to the rubbery texture and salty flavour that makes halloumi so amazing, and the quantity was spot on. The chips were fantastic, the tomato and chilli jam packed with plenty of texture and with a sweet, syrupy flavour that paired well with the saltiness of the cheese. The salad was beautiful too, with leaves, apple, radishes and cucumber – it was good to have that freshness on the side of the plate.

 

Salt & Malt, Cargo 2 - Halloumi

 

While my meal was a resounding positive, Chris’ haddock was let down by the tartare sauce, and by the overly-thin layer of batter on the haddock. Despite this, though, we’ll be heading back: based on photos we’ve seen on social media, he was just a bit unlucky on the day. It’s a beautifully designed restaurant with friendly (yet sometimes a little confused) service, a great selection of food and drink and very reasonable prices, all just a short walk from home. What’s not to love?

 

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