Bare brick and cracked concrete are the backdrop for some standout vintage design pieces at new Highbury restaurant, Saltine.
Once a fried chicken shop, the space has been completely reimagined by its new owners, Mat Appleton and Jess Blackstone, the duo creative behind Fink’s Cafes in Finsbury Park and Clapton. Blackstone led the transformation, drawing on her talents as an artist to craft Saltine’s interiors, which feature a modest, casual bar at the front and an airy glass-roofed dining room at the back.
Rather than fixing the space’s imperfections, Blackstone has embraced them, leaving steel supports and unfinished plaster on display alongside patinaed brickwork and cracked concrete.
Existing textures are heightened by new ones: tile glue to create a fluted effect on the walls and casting wood wool in resin for countertops. More ‘polished’ elements come from vintage 1970s Lübke chairs in the dining room, bespoke Douglas fir booths, sculptural table lamps and some surprising artworks by Paul Kindersley.
Guests can expect simple but flavourful dishes from head chef Phil Wood – previously of Spring and St John Marylebone – whose menu favours whole animals and seasonal ingredients. Sample dishes include roast chicken and bread salad, cured bream with fennel seed saltine, slow roast lamb with braised wax beans and green anise, and sweet treats such as sticky toffee apple cake and raspberry ripple ice cream with blackberry and verbena jelly.