From Iceland — Salt


Published March 10, 2006


As a rule of thumb, it is not so much the taste of the food that is the real criteria for a restaurant in Salt’s price range. You don’t go into an expensive restaurant hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. You expect it to be good, and you are only surprised when it’s not. Therefore, when my companion and I received one delicious course after another we were not surprised. That was to be expected. What did come as a pleasant surprise was the adventurous menu.
For example, the kangaroo and goat cheese salad, which I had for a starter. An excellent choice I might add. Another excellent and inventive dish was the grilled tuna with ginger and capers – highly recommended. And the saffro-spiced seafood soup was another tasty one. As for the rest of our meal, chorizo spiced beef tenderloin and the lemon and thyme spiced lamb fillet, it was excellent if not adventurous
A word must be reserved for the service. The casual, yet professional approach of the Salt staff made us feel especially welcome. The formal atmosphere that often goes with dining in an upscale restaurant was eased into a very pleasant and relaxed experience. Our sommelier displayed a good knowledge of the restaurant’s quite extensive wine list, making some very good selections for my companion. I made my own selections, and my knowledge of wines was quickly put in its place by comparison.
A reassuring feature of the restaurant’s interior is the open window between the dining area and the kitchen, where you can see the chefs preparing your dish. Otherwise, the interior is inspired by a dark and minimalist approach, with a colour arrangement that varies from black to sand and oyster with the occasional warm touch of paprika and saffron. The seating arrangements run alongside a big street-front window. Although the scenery mostly consists of the Reykjavík Grapevine offices and a hot dog stand, this should dramatically improve once the planned music hall has been built across from the restaurant.
Two points worth keeping in mind: First, the restaurant’s staff will happily prepare special dishes for both children and vegetarians upon request. Second, in the lounge bar opposite the restaurant, certain dishes from the starters menu, such as the seafood soup, can be ordered at a very reasonable price, which makes it a terrific stop for a light lunch downtown.

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