Salt is a well-reputed fish and chips and burger bar that's been around for a while. It's now owned by Victor and Rosa, who are enthusiastic, dedicated and sincere owners, slogging it out seven days a week. Not surprisingly, Salt has many regular customers. They even have one customer from Castlemaine who only eats Salt fish and chips. Salt pride themselves on a quick turn around service.
This cafe had been recommended to me and I had totally underestimated the style and quality. The idea of visiting a fish and chip shop for lunch brought back memories as a child of walking hand-in-hand with my mum up to the local greasy takeaway. Salt is more upmarket than I envisaged and so much more than that. I love this cafe with the window seat and outdoor heating. It is licensed and sells selected premium beers and wine.
Salt has the biggest menu I've ever seen at seafood and burger bar. It also has tacos, souvlakis, salads, kids and value meals as well as what you would expect at a fish and chip shop or a burger lounge. Given there were so many items on the menu, I asked Victor if there were some that were not bought by anyone. He said that this is tried and tested menu and that there wasn't one thing that was not bought by someone. Their takeaway is popular but I like the idea of dining, in just in case we have a room for more.
Incidentally, and perhaps not surprisingly, Salt has a range of salts which impressed my children. So beyond our favourite chicken salt and Himalayan pink salt, they also have cinnamon salt and scorpion salt. The latter is very tasty and hot which I really enjoyed on the shoestring chips. A large serve could feed an army and they are so much better than Maccas. Every last chip was crisp and didn't taste of oil.
The most popular food is the burgers, especially the chilli fish burger which Rosa told me is a little bit spicy but not too hot. Salt cooks up 14 different types of burgers costing from $10 - $15 (crispy crab) including vegetarian and vegan ($10) and they are served in brioche buns. The seafood basket and grilled fish with salad and brown rice (yum!) are also very popular with customers who live around North Melbourne. Salt make their own sauces and salads and use environmentally friendly packaging.
At the risk of sounding disgusting, or at the very least overindulgent, our family ordered a host of different menu items to share… perfect for a broad review. At the outset, I'm going to say that everything was excellent and some of the items really surprised me. For example, normally I would only ever order fried calamari but today we ordered grilled calamari on a recommendation. I'm so glad we did - it just melted in the mouth. One of their signature dishes is the chilli fish burger, which my kids absolutely loved and wanted more of. My daughter often criticises burgers for being too much bread. She said this was perfect because you could taste it all the other ingredients. I'm pretty partial to potato cakes and would say that Salt had the best ever potato cakes, they're not overly battered and not at all greasy.
The grilled salmon with salad was as fresh as you could possibly get. This almost balanced up my guilt for eating so much other food. The grilled chicken can be substituted for the grilled salmon. which was also very tender chicken. It had been marinated overnight in white wine, soy sauce and garlic. The whole meal was only $13.
Salmon meal to die for. Cheaper than cooking at home
My absolute favourite would have to be the chicken fajita 11). The chicken was incredibly tender and the wrap softest and fresh. It was not too spicy had fresh salad and avocado. If I had to eat this every day of my life. it would take a very long time to get sick of it. If you are a prawn lover, they would be a must. Have a look at the size in the photos! They also stock the famous South Melbourne dim sims for only $2.50. At this stage, I was just about rolling out of the door, so didn't get to sample them.
Salt's busiest times are Friday lunch, Thursday and Friday night. At first, it surprised me that they have many customers who have just been to the gym but this is probably because they do have many healthy options.
Rosa and Victor are new to the shop but they are thrilled to tell me that they have many people at the end of meals wanting to thank the manager. They said that a lot of people say to them this is better than Hunky Dory, which is meant to be the best. People often kindly comment that this is the best fish and so much cheaper.
As we were leaving, my daughter was trying to scheme up a way to get her friends back soon. I confess I was also thinking the same. Salt is just across from some comedy venues in North Melbourne so I will definitely be indulging again next time I come out to a show.
It's hard to sum up why Salt is so good in just a few words. The service is as fast as, it's a clean cafe with indoor and outdoor dining, but what's most important and impressive to me is the consistently fresh, quality food. No wonder they have queues out the door some summer evenings. You've got to try it, then you will know what I mean and… then you'll never look back. It's a pity they are so far away because they have totally ruined my local fish n chip experience. But it'll be 100% worth the trip. You just cannot fault this food.
I've been going here with my partner since it opened. We frequent here when we go to The Comics Lounge, when we meet up with friends from the other side of the city or even just drive 20 mins one way from our place near Highpoint to have F & C's. The old owners were great, the new ones just as good and have continued to deliver the service and quality we came to expect.