I was never any good at art at school (my mother would argue this as she still has a picture I painted when I was six hanging proudly at home), however I do remember one lesson on Dali. The lasting memory I have is of pure eccentricity and bizarre yet striking imagery. I don’t think my teacher covered his relationship with Amanda Lear. However the team behind Salvador and Amanda in Covent Garden now have a sister restaurant in Holborn which continues this Dali theme.
Spread over two floors and including a tapas bar, cocktail bar and DJ bar, this venue caters for couples looking for a romantic dinner together with girls and boys looking to tuck into some superb cocktails and tapas and dancing the night away to 3am on Saturdays.
The atmosphere is certainly surreal as from the outside the restaurant looks dark and broody with neon lights above the entrance beaming Salvador and Amanda to the world, however once inside you are transported in to this Dali era with colour and contrast surrounding you.
It is a beautifully decorated, quirky and creative environment; multi-coloured ceramic tiles line the steps up to an all-white lounge area with white shutters hanging from the wall. This is in contrast to the dark wood, apparently reclaimed from beach sheds in Norfolk, that make up the bar.
Spanish tapas is the focus with consulting executive chef Ruben Dario Estrella (Opera Tavern) having worked on the menu. Huge effort is taken to source only the finest raw ingredients and not to over complicate the delicate flavours within. The team here are offering the best of what Spain has to offer and they are doing a great job of it.
Starting with Cerdo Cruijiente (excellent pork crackling) and some artisan bread covered in tomato and extra virgin olive oil through to acorn-fed Iberico ham from Jaburgo (which has been cured for 36 months) and Cornish scallops with cauliflower puree and raisins. Everything was fresh, simple and extremely satisfying. We moved on to some deep-fried breaded chorizo lollypops, which are exactly as the sound and were absolutely incredible though not great for the diet. This was followed by char grilled 21-day matured rib eye steak and patatas fritas. Succulent steak, cooked rare as requested with again incredibly simple flavours….you just taste the meat and the char grilled flavour and nothing else.
This was all washed down with an intense cherry-flavoured Rioja and rounded off with an almond tart… yes there was still room, and too be honest I would have been happy to work my way through their little black board of desserts.
One other thing I remembered from art class was that the image of an elephant is recurring in a lot of Dali’s works. Pretty sure if I had my way and was allowed to work my way through the entirety of this fantastic menu, I would become such an animal. This menu needs exploring and I am sure that this injection of Spanish culinary brilliance is very much welcomed in Bloomsbury.
Salvador & Amanda
1 Vernon Place
Tel: 020 7637 2960