Andrew Kay Dines – Above The Salt – The Salt Room
Re-invention is such a good thing and there is little doubt that in the world of fine food a good shake up can be a very good thing. I found this once again at a tasting of the new menu at The Salt Room.
The Salt Room was always a bold move, a restaurant on a scale usually found in the capital. It oozed style, luxury and glamour and it championed fish and seafood and local produce. It has always amazed me that for a city by the sea there have been so few places over the years serving great fish.
Now The Salt Room has a new chef, hot from the Michelin starred Ledbury in London and as a consequence a new menu, a great new menu. Fish is still at the forefront of this but along side that fish and shellfish some very good vegetarian dishes and meat too. It’s a very tempting array and choosing was somewhat difficult.
It’s as if the weaver of the finest silk velvet had been asked to create a dessert
I was joined by old favourite Mr L, although he will hate the term old right now, but he is a great person to dine with and one who is happy to share dishes, so we started with one of their snack size dishes, tiny fish tempura with seaweed mayonnaise. Mmmmm delicious and generous too, but I will come back to that. As starters we shared brown and white Crab with violet artichokes, lemon, ginger, perfection, and again generous, immaculate seasoning, beautiful presentation…
Our second starter was Grilled Castelfranco burrata, orange and anchovy and it was exciting and luscious, creamy burrata alongside bitter griddled chicory and vibrant segments of blood orange, explosive flavours and calming ones too.
I have been to The Salt Room on many occasions but never shared one of their platters. We were definitely drawn to the suckling pig and the gurnard but the Surfboard of grilled and steamed shellfish, aioli vinaigrette and herb fries. Wow, the best squid since Latin In The Lanes closed, immaculate scallops, clams and mussels, huge prawns and crayfish and all piping hot! The fries were perfection and generous – are you spotting a theme here? Yes this is beautiful food but it is generous too, none of those tiny portions sat in the middle of a huge plate here, food to fill your heart and soul and your belly too!
Desserts took me to an entirely new high. Mr L chose the peppermint choc-ice, a nostalgic flavour sensation that put a very big smile on his face. We also shared the fro-yo with rose, pisatchio and rhubarb, again stunning. Then on to my choice – burnt sugar tart with grapefruit and gin sorbet. Let’s start with the sorbet, bliss, vibrant and perfect in texture, had it been the dessert alone I would have been impressed and very happy but… burnt sugar tart is divine, it’s as if the weaver of the finest silk velvet had been asked to create a dessert, it is sweet yes but not cloyingly so, it simply delivers on every level of pudding perfection. I wanted more, not because it was mean but because I fear it might be addictive.
The Salt Room is on top form, great food, generous portions and at a glance I sense an easing down of their pricing. Re-invention yes, I love it, other places should look hard and learn!
106 King’s Rd, Brighton, BN1 2FU0