|Raw scallop starter|
Extraordinary weather on the south coast ensured that dusk on Sunday evening was a beautiful sight to behold, with sky hues that were redolent of the Mediterranean, evolving through a palette that ranged from apricot to lilac.
And in such a situation, what could be better than a really good meal, enjoyed al fresco?
This was my fourth visit to The Salt Room in Brighton in the space of just over 12 months and The Other Half’s second.
I have, before each of those meals, had just the tiniest amount of trepidation. British dining is, in my experience, so often a matter of pot luck.
Over the years, we’ve paid not inconsiderable sums for food that has, if not inedible, been little more than fuel. Given serial disappointments, one is familiar with an inkling of fear that perfection simply cannot continue.
But this is The Salt Room and now, having eaten 12 courses there, I can report that it remains utterly flawless and a simply wonderful place to eat.
This time, I started with raw scallop, finely chopped and combined with elderflower and radish, and topped with lumpfish roe.
It was beautifully served on a shell, which sat on top of crushed ice to keep the fish at the perfect temperature.
I’ll say it again of this eatery: a single bite is enough to tell you two things – that the fish here is seriously fresh and that the kitchen really knows how to handle seafood.
In the case of the scallop, delicate tastes and a delicate texture made for an exemplary dish.
The Other Half very much enjoyed his teriyaki salmon, with wasabi, cucumber and lime.
He noted, as we dined, that suggestion from some that an expensive meal should induce guilt.
But as touched on above, you can spend less and, for instance, have a vast plate of pasta placed in front of you and not be able to come close to finishing it because it’s an insanely over the-top portion.
On weekdays, I lunch sometimes at a café near work where, frankly, any pasta dish is close to being half a packet of the pasta in question.
It’s not particularly expensive, but I can never eat it all – even though I always ask for a smaller portion.
The OH posited the point that, on such occasions, you even find yourself eating more than you really feel comfortable with – simply from guilt and not wanting to have to face staff asking what the matter is.
So which is worse – an expensive meal of quality that you eat every last crumb of, with relish? Or something that is far cheaper but you eat largely because you need to eat and you leave loads because there’s far too much to start with and it’s not particularly special anyway?
|Cherry Arctic roll|
Portion size is a wide-spread problem in the UK. Thankfully, it’s not the case at The Salt Room, where I can comfortably eat a three-course meal.
The plates from our starters could have been licked clean by the time they were removed.
Next up, The Other Half enjoyed – very much – cod and chorizo with BBQ onions, samphire and lemon.
For me, it was sea trout, with crayfish dumplings, asparagus, BBQ tomato and basil.
Again – an utter delight, with perfectly-cooked fish and lovely flavours. Textures were light, while presentation was also up to the very high standards.
And two more plates were completely cleaned before being removed.
Last up, The Other Half had mango and vanilla parfait with lime curd, lime snow, passion fruit and macerated mango.
I opted for a cherry and chocolate Arctic roll that was a confection of cherry ice cream, chocolate espuma and compressed cherries.
Do I have to tell you how much was left after we put down our spoons?
I didn’t think so.
The Salt Room is consistently producing excellent, seasonal food. The creations of head chef Dave Mothersill are inventive but never feel forced. Frankly, it was difficult to choose what to eat because there was so much to whet the appetite.
The service also remains superb: efficient, friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
My only question is when I’m back in town next!
To find out more and book, visit www.saltroom-restaurant.co.uk.