Despite earning positive reviews for dishes like Chicken on a Brick and reservations stretching into the new year, Spalding and John Salt's owners 580 Ltd made the joint decision to finish the partnership on 21 December, two months in to the contract, after it was apparent they wanted the business to go in different directions.
In a statement, Spalding said: “When teams part ways you hear a lot said about ‘different directions.’ That is the case with John Salt and I.
“They wish to present a different food offering. I wish them well, but their plans are not my plans. So the next time you eat food in a restaurant with Ben Spalding as its chef, I’d like it be in a restaurant owned and run by Ben Spalding.”
Spalding’s residency had always been an ‘interim opportunity’ while he looked for his own restaurant. However, leaving John Salt earlier than forecast means the chef is now free to focus solely on a solo venture which he hopes to open this summer in central London.
He told BigHospitality he was currently in talks with a few different parties over funding for his own restaurant, but that the project was still in the early stages.
John Salt future
In a statement 580 Ltd, the company behind the Owl & the Pussycat in Shoreditch and The Fellow at King's Cross, said they wished Spalding well with his future plans.
“We are all very proud of what we have achieved and are very thankful to both Ben and his team for their hard work to make the launch of the restaurant at John Salt such a success,” it said.
John Salt has since appointed Neil Rankin, formerly of Pitt Cue Co to take care of food at the venue. Rankin will introduce a menu throughout, with Cornish seafood and meat expected to feature heavily.