“Freedom of creativity, plus a naïve entrepreneurial spirit,” is the simple answer to why Nicholas Balfe, the young chef-patron of Salon, opened his acclaimed establishment in a small space that used to be a hairdresser’s in Brixton Market.
It may take a certain naivety to open a new restaurant in London’s fierce and crowded culinary scene, but it also requires creativity and talent to run one of the city’s most buzzed about kitchens, three years running, and become a food columnist for The Guardian. Though the gist of Salon is simple – a set seasonal menu that offers the best local and organic flavours inspired by the British landscape – it’s a formula that is obviously working.
Balfe’s culinary resumé is a list of some of the city’s top food spots – Head Chef of Brunswick House, stints at Frank’s in Peckham and the Young Turks. When opening up Salon on a shoestring budget, the self-taught chef looked to his Yorkshire roots to create an inventive menu with the countryside in mind, giving Brixton Market a decidedly British flavour amongst its more bustling, global fare.