The Salt Bar, Macclesfield
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The Salt Bar is in the centre of Macclesfield on a cobbled street close to the castle. Macclesfield is an attractive town with an illustrious history, about 25 minutes by train from Manchester and with some stunning countryside nearby.
The owner, Debbie Quinn, ploughed her savings into setting up the restaurant with no previous experience of running a bar or a restaurant and with little knowledge of Swedish food! However, what she lacked in knowledge and experience she made up for with bags of enthusiasm.
During the build up to the opening of the restaurant she was followed by a film crew from BBC television's The Restaurant Man, led by Russell Norman an experienced restauranteur who gave Debbie lots of advice. Debbie listened carefully to the advice, despite some tears along the way, and there is little doubt that the success of The Salt Bar is due to Debbie responding to Russell's advice as well her infectious enthusiasm.
The Salt Bar is open 7 days a week for lunches, dinners and drinks at a small bar. (See their website for exact opening hours.)
The Salt Bar is lively, friendly and popular restaurant. It gets extremely busy at weekends and has a steady flow of customers during the week. It has a broad appeal so that during one of our visits there was one table celebrating an 80th birthday and another with women enjoying a meal before going for a night out in Manchester.
The decor is attractive and homely. The tables are small and fairly close together as the restaurant is quite small, but that helps to create the lively atmosphere.
The downside is that it does get so busy. Ventilation can be a problem although they do their best to stop it getting too hot or stuffy with an air conditioning unit near the door. It is worse for the kitchen staff, so sometimes the chef sits on the pavement outside to phone his orders through!
The lunch menu is well priced starting at just £5.95 for a choice of three main course salads (mackerel, chicken or goat's cheese) and a choice of side salads.
During the week they offer 2 courses for £12.95 or 3 courses for £14.95. A glass of wine can be added for just £1.95.
On a Friday or Saturday night only their main menu is available. It has a choice of 4 excellent starters at £6 or £6.50: pan fried mackerel with cucumber salad and toast Skagen are particularly recommended. Mains range in price from £9 to £15 and include grön ärta burger, biff à la Lindström and crayfish linguine.
The Salt Bar entices visitors to try Swedish food and most go away having enjoyed the experience. Sure some might argue that their meatballs could do with more spice and serving fries with meatballs is just plain wrong, but if it is attracting so many customers it surely can't be wrong.
During our visits we found the service to be top notch: the staff are friendly, enthusiastic and well trained.
The Salt Bar is our Swedish Restaurant of the Year. It offers good food, excellent service, superb value for money and a lively atmosphere. The restaurant has done more than any other Swedish restaurant in the UK to tempt people to try Swedish food. We hope others will copy their example.
Address: 23b Church Street, Macclesfield SK11 6LB
Other reviews: Tripadvisor
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