Friday, January 11, 2013

Salt Tapas & Bar by Luke Magan

The Spanish tapas wave has hit Singapore for some time and Australian Chef Luke Magan, who opened Salt at Ion Orchard, launched his Salt tapas & bar to give his Australian take on Spanish cuisine. The place is headed not by him but by his executive chef Tom Wells, who will still most likely be the one in charge of your food as he was seen around the restaurant that evening.

Do not expect generous portions for the price of the usual main course as this is as usual, the Spanish style of "small plates" that are meant to be shared like dimsum. The last Spanish food was at Esquina.


The Traditional Garlic Roasted Flatbread ($6) came highly recommended. The bread topped with grains of salt did not disappoint though the black charred lines contributed bitterness. However the Romesco sauce was mild and tasted like pureed tomato. would prefer violet oon's chilli crab pita here.

 
I like the Salted Cod Croquettes ($20) for its unique texture and well-balanced flavour. Not overly salted nor greasy, it was accompanied by the Green pea mint puree and garlic alioli that was so much better than having the usual fried items with plain old mayonnaise or tartar.
The Wagyu Sausage,soft polenta,capers and tomato ($14) was a dark horse because none of us expected the beef sausage to be so tender and chewy. The bed of mash potato or polenta, was exceptionally smooth and combined well with the tangy tomato sauce instead of brown gravy.
 
 The Confit Pork Belly had an undoubtedly crispy crackling skin lightly salted. However, it had to go together with the meat because it was bland. With 3 pieces at $27, the price is steep especially when the pool of small-cubed chorizos and lentils infused with Indian spices did not boost the taste of the pork.
 
There is no excuse to skip the desserts since the mains are not too overwhelmingly huge.
The Gooey Hot Chocolate Tart with caramelised bananas, crunchy honeycomb and white chocolate ice cream ($14) should not be missed as we are quite sure that this is the ONLY place in Singapore that serve this dessert and does it so amazingly well.
 
It was just a thin crumbly pastry shell filled with chocolate lava  with no sight of any cake. How we wish that more restaurants could replace their molten chocolate cake with this......
Not all might be used to the liquorice taste in the Signature Luke's Licorice Parfait ($12) but I enjoyed it a lot. The  liquorice ice cream  was not too strong but still creamy. The lime syrup and fresh citrus slice added a refreshing edge to the dessert. Suitable for those who prefer something light.
The Apple & Nut crumble ($12) was served sizzling hot with a light not too sweet Frangelico Custard.
Everything was superb except that this dish had more chunky slices of caramelized apples than the nuts. Perhaps it's just personal preferences but I believe most people go for the nutty crumble in an apple crumble right?


In short, the food was undeniably good and some like the wagyu sausage and the chocolate tart impressed us. Also, the cod croquettes here is very different from the Spanish ham cheesy croquettes or the Japanese versions.  Although I have been mentally prepared for it after the Esquina incident, the food still send us some shockwaves when served. Perhaps one good thing about tapas is that the portions allow us to eat in moderation
 
Salt tapas & bar
#01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre
No 252, North Bridge Road
Singapore 179103
Tel: (65) 6837 0995
Menu and details:

 

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