boti eats: the salt room
We hit the autumnal jackpot when we visited The Salt Room recently, diving straight into their new menu with a side of sea view. Positioned on the seafront with large windows along the wall, it really is one of the best spots to tuck into a long lunch without having to get your gloves on. Part of the Hilton Metropole building, it’s a restaurant that can sometimes get overlooked, but it’s well worth a visit (ask for a table with a view!) to find out why it was crowned the winner of The Caterer’s 2017 Seafish Restaurant of the Year. Their bar is perfect to pop in for a cocktail, too, with their award-winning mixologists and eclectic collection of spirits. It’s like being a kid in a candy shop.
With one veggie in our crew, we had the chance to try a bit of both on the menu… any excuse, eh? To kick things off, we went straight in with their bread and butter, naturally. We have to admit that we struggle to say no to a little carby start to any meal out, and the selection at The Salt Room did not disappoint. Two types of bread served with caper mayonnaise and mackerel butter, with the creamiest of butters for our veggie diner.
Straight onto the starters, we were ready for some new flavours and our super-friendly waiter recommended some wine pairings based on our menu choices. Two delicate whites arrived that would prove the perfect match to our mains, so you’re definitely safe in their matchmaker hands. The hot king prawns are a little messy, as you’d expect, but if you’re up for getting your hands dirty then we can guarantee it’s worth it as the prawns melt in your mouth (and they are pretty big, too, so you only need a few). The light feta mousse veggie starter was whipped and frothy, served with beetroot, horseradish, cumin and orange. Pretty on the plate and tasty on the tongue.
Trousers getting tighter, we prepped ourselves for the main event as we couldn’t resist going for the whole salt-baked bream. As it approached the table there was a worried exchange of eyebrow moves as we thought “who ordered the pie?”, but as it arrived, it was clear it was, in fact, a beautifully baked fish encrusted in salt and ready to fillet… just as we’d ordered. The team flawlessly filleted the fish and presented it with the cooked seaweed and a charred lemon to flavour. Delicate and perfectly flaky, the bream was melt in the mouth and accompanied with the tastiest harissa and garlic potatoes, just in case we needed some more carbs after our bread pre-starter. We ate them all, naturally.
Our veggie companion tucked into the fire-roasted cauliflower, which looked a little on the over-charred side, but we were assured it was tasty, dressed with Vadouvan onions, crème fraîche, curry leaf and almond to pack a punch. Veggie options are a little limited, but they do have an incredible mix of seafood and meat dishes to showcase their kitchen skills, thanks to head chef Dave Mothersill, who previously headed up sister restaurant The Coal Shed.
Now on to the dessert. Having been lucky enough to sample their infamous A Taste of the Pier sharing dessert on a previous visit (an incredible play on all your seaside favourites, including the ’99’, doughnuts and candy floss), and perhaps being a little over-indulgent for a spot of lunch, we questioned whether dessert would be too much. But then we saw the menu and the pud simply referred to as ‘Chocolate’ sold it for us. We’ll have it to share, thanks very much. If you’ve got a sweet tooth then this is certainly one to go for. It’s made up of chocolate mousse, cherry, honeycomb (a favourite of ours) and toasted marshmallow ice-cream. A rich end to a right royal lunch.
Photo credits: Paul Winch-Furness
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The Salt Room, 106 Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 2FU