Sussex Business Times’ Food and Drinks Editor, Kelly Thwaites enjoyed a meal at one of Brighton’s most pristine restaurants. Here, she feeds back on her thoughts
We were very lucky to have been able to slot in a last minute restaurant review at this amazing venue.
The restaurant is relatively new to Brighton but has caused quite a stir in the business community. In my view, Brighton was screaming out for a destination fine dining seafront experience and the Salt Rooms did not disappoint. With an unobstructed view of the new i360 and indeed the sea, the glass front is the place to sit. The summer will bring another chance to experience al fresco dining on the beautiful mezzanine.
We were welcomed upon entry by the lovely Merve, who could not have been more accommodating. Our experience started straight away by being placed at a sea-facing table. On such a cold day, sitting at that position allowed the sun to beam in on us and it almost (I say that very loosely) felt like Spring.
We started with the wine list. Our waiter was Alfonso who was an absolute pleasure to meet. He was friendly from the outset and without competition, one of the most knowledgeable waiters we have been lucky enough to meet. My guest and I were blown away by his willingness to help with what must have seemed like never-ending questions about how to make the dishes that were served. I digress. The wine list was extensive but it was lunchtime and we had a busy day so just the (ahem) two glasses it was. We requested a reliable old Sancerre but Alfonso encouraged us to widen our palate a little and enquired whether we would like to try a Greek white or the Italian Vermentino. After a quick, impromptu wine tasting we opted for the beautiful peach smelling Greek wine, which went amazingly with our fish dishes. To start, my guest chose the octopus, which was served with beans, bacon and cider within the rich sauce, which he reliably informed me was delicious. I chose a simple salmon starter, which was the perfect size and taste to leave me with a keen appetite for the main course.
The Vermentino wine sounded too good to miss and so myself and my guest chose this to go with our main fish dish. My guest had the whole bream. Alfonso offered to filet the dish but I think the foodie atmosphere and perhaps the wine gave my guest the confidence to filet the bream himself. It was a huge dish served with spicy Nduja (southern Italian spice) potatoes and went down very well indeed. We asked Alfonso how the crust was cooked and, without taking a breath, he was able to give us the measurements, the ingredients, which fish it would suit, and some hints and tips on what to add or change according to what we preferred. It was such an impressive display of knowledge and a real testament to the standards of the restaurant itself. I am not sure I have ever come across such a knowledgeable, eager-to-assist waiter and I hope this review reaches him.
As I prefer a more meaty fish, I chose the monkfish which came with a tandoori sauce, served with cauliflower, coconut, ginger and yoghurt. It was more than delicious. It was mouth-watering and something I would make the trip for just to have again.
We finished with the fast becoming famous “Taste of the Pier.” This is a beautifully served tray of tiny samples of Pier-type food, including candy floss, butterscotch donuts and my favourite chocolate pebbles. This is a wonderful experience for any visitor of Brighton. I would highly recommend this dish when looking to impress business visitors as it is cultural and fun and would be a welcome distraction from heavy business chat when the mood needs to be lightened. Alfonso gossiped to us that some visitors come to the restaurant only to order this dish! In my eyes, this is missing out on the full culinary delights of the menu but nevertheless, is a perfect plan to end a long summer’s day on the beach.
We have previously reviewed The Salt Room’s sister restaurant, The Coal Shed which is more of a steak focused restaurant. The Salt Room is a mainly fish orientated restaurant, although there are some tasty steak alternatives. It is no surprise to me or my guest that this chain is doing so well. It seems to achieve the hard-to-reach standard of a meal becoming an experience. Perhaps it was our waiters, but it very much felt like a welcome interactive negotiation of our choices with some tongue-in-cheek persuasion of recommendations, and the right balance of feeling comfortable to stick with our own tastes. I personally prefer these types of discussions before meals and you are left with the feeling that the dishes are being tailored to your individual needs.
I will most certainly return and would encourage any foodie friends or indeed business associates to do the same. In the summer I imagine this being the most wonderful alfresco experience, which could rival the best seafront Mediterranean restaurants. There are large tables available for events and if you want to impress associates from “out of town,” I would encourage this venue as the most Brightonian restaurant in town.
ABOUT THE SALT ROOM
Boasting uninterrupted views of the Brighton seafront and British Airways i360, The Salt Room is a modern British seafood restaurant that celebrates the flavours of cooking over coal. Recent winner of the Seafish UK Restaurant of the Year 2017 the extensive menu champions sustainability and showcases the very best local produce.
106 Kings Rd,