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The Salt Room in Brighton - restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 11:14 04 August 2015 | UPDATED: 16:01 06 November 2017

The Salt Room

The Salt Room

Archant

The Salt Room is the latest addition to Brighton seafront’s dining scene. The brainchild of the team behind The Coal Shed, it’s already making waves, as Jenny Mark-Bell discovers

Fish soupFish soup

The Salt Room is the latest addition to the empire of local businessman Razak Helalat, who also owns The Coal Shed, which has become locally famous for its steaks. Being one of those finicky eaters, I don’t do steaks, so in the four years since that restaurant has opened I have known it by reputation alone. Now The Salt Room, under the direction of Head Chef Dave Mothersill, will be bringing similar cooking principles to bear on cooking fish.

The restaurant enjoys a knock-out position on Brighton seafront, what seems like mere inches from the ruined West Pier – what will be the site of the i360 viewing tower. There’s a nice terrace outside for summer days and the restaurant has been agreeably decorated, industrial-style, with reclaimed wood, exposed brick, and what are probably called innovative lighting concepts.

Soon after being seated by the denim apron-clad staff, who are friendly and informal, yet also professionally knowledgeable, we got our amuse bouche – a dainty little draught of consommé with wild garlic and a flavoursome cuttlefish fritter.

My starter, a fish soup, came beautifully presented, with pickled mackerel, breaded mussel, squid ribbons and crayfish tenderly arranged in a bowl. The soup itself came in a little jug, which the smiling waitress poured on top with some ceremony. That was just the right amount of drama, because the flavours were on point: interesting enough to be stimulating, not too showy to be enjoyable.

Carl chose a special: langoustines served with a wild garlic mayonnaise. I managed to distract his attention for long enough to procure a forkful, and it was very fine: with that gorgeous ozone taste of the freshest seafood.

I felt it my professional duty to try out the Josper grill, which you can see from the restaurant, and asked for half a lobster to follow, with a charcoal mayonnaise.

When the latter arrived, it was inky and extraordinary, like a barbecue in a bottle (well, in a dish, but you know what I mean). The sweet, buttery lobster was a dream and the kitchen does a good chip, too.

Carl’s divinely cooked sea bass came with pickled vegetables, an unexpected match, but one that worked well: he even approved of the cauliflower, which is a wonder (I tried hard not to feel hurt on behalf of the rejected brassicas I have served over the years).

We finished with what proved to be something of an architectural and culinary wonder: the show-stopping sharing platter, Taste of the Pier. Anyone who has pledged their fiefdom to the wonder of a pier doughnut will love this, as it is basically an upscale version of all the naughty things you’ll find on the boardwalk: candy floss is flavoured with rhubarb, there’s a mini ‘99’ ice cream and all manner of decadent, kiss-me-quick treats. If you’re looking for a dessert that sums up Brighton for pit-stop visitors, here it is.

Taste of the PierTaste of the Pier

106 King’s Road, Brighton, BN1 2FU; 01273 929488; saltroom-restaurant.co.uk

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