A verdict on the dishes at Salt & Earth at 1000 Trades

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There’ll be a gap in Birmingham’s culinary scene when Salt & Earth’s residency at 1000 Trades ends and its chef Niki Astley leaves Birmingham.

He has a style of is own, producing dishes that are easy on the eye, have finesse but, above all, are great to eat.

Niki, who ran the critically-acclaimed Two Cats Kitchen in the Jewellery Quarter before deciding to concentrate on Salt & Earth, is keeping tight-lipped about where he’s heading after Birmingham.

Wherever it is, the inhabitants are set for a treat.

Salt & Earth

A lazy afternoon sampling some of the dishes off his menu at 1000 Trades was time well spent.

The influences are eclectic – drawing on Latin America and Japan cuisine, but also styles nearer home.

Celeriac, for instance, came in pasta-like ribbons with a carbonara-style sauce balancing pungent pecorino with soothing eggs and lots and lots of punchy back pepper.

Yucca fries were beautifully textured and came with a tangy ponzu mayo.

Sweet potatoes came with salty feta, snappy little pellets of olives and agave.

Salt & Earth

A gorgeously spongey bao bun was topped with crisp soft shell crab, bacon, tomato and lettuce and was a BLT-inspired burger that was stunning.

Beef rump cap was perfectly cooked so that it blushed pink on the plate alongside a mole sauce given extra notes by hibiscus.

Tilapia ceviche was a colourful plate, zingy with palate-cleaning fresh flavours.

Salt & Earth

A white chocolate cheesecake with blood oranges, honeycomb and an almost herbaceous shisho oil was a real crowd-pleaser.

This was food that I would happily eat every day – though, sadly, time is running out to do so because Salt & Earth’s residency at 1000 Trades ends on March 3.

Meantime, from next week, Niki will be serving fresh, hand-pressed tacos for lunch with yucca fries for £7.

Salt & Earth

This follows the success of the taco pop up on the 10th with Lap Fai Lee.

Fifty per cent of the seats at Salt & Earth’s residency at 1000 Trades will be available for booking, with the rest open for walk-ins.

Places can be booked by visiting the 1000 Trades’ website at  http://1000trades.org.uk/food/

Niki and his team will be serving food between 12-4pm and 5pm until close each day.

This is casual dining in a space known for its organic wines, craft beer, innovative pop-ups and other events.

The sort of dishes Niki is cooking….

Salt & Earth

Earth

Yucca fries & ponzu mayonnaise – £4 (v)

Sweet potato, feta, black olive & agave – £5 (v)

Celeriac, Pecorino cheese, black pepper, egg – £6 (v)

Land

Sous vide pork belly, tamarind BBQ – £9

Japanese style fried chicken, dirty 1000 island – £7

Beef rump cap & mole poblano sauce – £12

Sea

Soft shell crab BLT – £9

Tilapia ceviche, chia seed, seaweed – £8

Heaven

Popcorn ice cream, smoked fudge, waffles – £5

Cheesecake, white chocolate, blood orange, honeycomb, shisho  – £6

Salt & Earth

1000 Trades

16 Frederick St, Birmingham B1 3HE. 0121 233 2693.

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