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Published February 15th 2017
Contemporary and relaxed dining In Sydney's East
Pink Salt is located in Double Bay and provides modern Australian food with a Mediterranean twist. The trendy location, pretty decor and enticing menu was convincing enough for me to venture out to Sydney's east on a Friday night.
We booked a table during the week through the restaurant's website. A quick 20 minute drive from the city, I parked nearby at the InterContinental Hotel carpark which had a rate of $8 for 1.5-3 hours. When we arrived, there were about five tables of people and gradually a few more groups came.
We were seated in the alfresco area looking out to the street. It's a peaceful suburb with plenty of trees and people strolling by. The street has traffic but not so much that it became a soundtrack to the dinner.
I was among a group of four to celebrate a friend's birthday. We took our time ogling the menu before deciding to order four small plates to share. It turned out to be a good decision and consisted of popcorn chicken with fresh chilli and sriracha aioli; grilled corn with chillies pickled peppers and cheese; lamb ribs with rabneh, pistachio and cucumber; and house-made grilled bread with hummus.
Presented beautifully on black round plates, the waiter laid out our first course. The bread that accompanied the textured hummus dip was like a mini pita bread only better. I decorated my bread with hummus and sliced it like a pizza. The simple dish was just the right starter, warm and rustic.
I next tasted the popcorn chicken which was exactly what you'd expect, bite-sized crumbed pieces of chicken - delicious! The sriracha aioli was perfectly suited to the chicken giving it a fresh, light taste. The corn was a nice balance with the other dishes and the chillies were not strong, just adding a little zing. I'm told the lamb ribs was the best dish from my meat-loving partner and he was quite convincing.
For the main, I chose the grass-fed beef cheek, with Dutch carrots and salsa verde. It was braised nicely making the meat tender and easy to eat. The sauce was rich and flavoursome; although if you don't like red wine, I would recommend opting for another dish instead. The carrots and salsa verde were small so the side of sweet potato chips was welcomed and shared between the four of us.
For dessert we resolved to share two dishes, still feeling satisfied from our mains but not wanting to miss out on the full Pink Salt experience. We managed to fit in the drop doughnuts with manuka honey ice cream and their signature "Pink Salt Nest" after the waiter recited perfectly the full dessert menu and had us salivating. The "Pink Salt Nest" featured a white chocolate egg with a runny mango 'yolk'. After the initial excitement of cracking the egg with our spoons, the dessert was a little underwhelming in flavour and consistency. The doughnuts on the other hand were much easier to handle, simple and very pleasant to eat. We could have easily had another plate of those.
The polished waiter was polite and friendly, and we didn't wait long for each course. While all of the dishes were enjoyable, the small plates were rated the best by everyone at the table. In between meals, I ventured upstairs to find a dimly lit bar featuring luxe leather lounges, perfect for visitors and locals to sip a quiet cocktail before going into the city.
In total we spent $270 (or $67.50 per person), which included non alcoholic drinks. For an intimate dinner with two and a half courses, I thought the cost was great value.
The food would meet most people's tastes who enjoy contemporary dining and was elegantly simple. The atmosphere was relaxed but still had an upmarket feel; a perfect fit for the thriving Double Bay restaurant scene. I would go there again in a heartbeat just for the popcorn chicken and drop doughnuts.