GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS
General Manager, Davide Vieira tells Miranda Jessop why anyone in Twickenham who appreciates truly exceptional food should book a table at Salt Flakes and sample the cuisine for themselves.
It was an obvious choice for me to go into the hospitality industry. My father worked as a Head Chef and, when I was a child, I always used to visit him at work. I often ended up doing my homework on the chest freezers in the kitchens! I started working in a restaurant when I was just seventeen years old and have been in the business ever since, setting up and running numerous bars and restaurants all around London.
I was involved with Salt Flakes right from the very beginning. I helped the owners to set the restaurant up and, after we opened in August last year, I was asked to take over as General Manager.
Our style of cuisine is Modern European with a French twist and we insist on using only the very finest ingredients. We buy all our meat, fish, vegetables and dairy produce from the best suppliers and, apart from the foie gras, everything is sourced in the UK.
We are renowned for the intricate and exquisite presentation of our food. Our customers often tell us that each dish is like a work of art. People especially love our seared scallops starter which comes with different coloured spots of beetroot puree dotted all around the edge of the plate.
We have just changed to a summer menu but we have been sure to keep a few of our customers’ absolute favourite dishes. Two of our most popular are the slow braised octopus carpaccio which is very unusual and slow cooked lamb shank with parsnip puree and garlic and rosemary red wine jus. We have just introduced a tomahawk steak; an impressive 900g, it is a beautiful piece of meat and makes a perfect sharing plate. Sunday roasts are also new to the menu and they are proving extremely popular.
It goes without saying that we have a varied and extensive wine list to suit every palate and our bar staff are always happy to mix a pre-dinner cocktail for customers to enjoy in our new Venetian lounge area.
Anyone who loves their puddings, won’t be disappointed with our dessert menu. There’s a mouth-watering vanilla creme brulee as well as a decadent hot chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream.
We are always happy to see families with children in our restaurant. We have a special kids’ menu with dishes such as grilled chicken breast, pan-fried cod and spaghetti pasta pomodoro.
Although we consider ourselves to be a ‘fine dining’ restaurant, the atmosphere is very relaxed. We treat everyone exactly the same whether they are wearing a jacket and tie or a T-shirt and shorts. Our service and attention to detail is second to none and we do our very best to make sure that our customers have the best possible experience and will come back time and time again.
If someone is planning a special occasion, we are happy to arrange exclusive use of the restaurant. We’ve already held a number of successful private events including christenings, holy communions and several birthday parties.
Our chef, Peter Howaniak has worked in first class restaurants all over the world and his absolute dream is to win a Michelin star for Salt Flakes.
People may not realise that the name Salt Flakes was chosen in recognition of all the different types of infused salt that our chef uses in the kitchen which subtly alter the flavour of the dishes.
We are so proud to be an independent restaurant and we really hope that the local community will support us so that we can continue to offer our unique style of fine dining right here in Twickenham. Although we are a little more expensive than than the big restaurant chains, we never compromise on the quality of the ingredients or the size of our portions.
Here at Salt Flakes, we are all passionate about what we do and we believe this is reflected in the the delicious taste, the outstanding presentation of each dish and our attention to detail. I love seeing the reaction when people sample our food for the first time.
My role as General Manager here is very varied and every day is completely different. I always make sure I spend time with the chef in the kitchen so I understand exactly how each dish has been prepared and I can pass that knowledge on to our customers. Everyone in Twickenham is so friendly and, when they see me out and about, they always insist on calling me ‘Mr Salt Flakes’!
Salt Flakes, 128-130 Heath Road
020 8892 9875 saltflakeslondon.co.uk
Open Tuesday to Thursday - evenings only
Friday, Saturday and Sunday - all day and evening