Restaurant Review: Salt Deli now worth its salt!

Salt Deli, which had a disastrous opening over the festive season, appears to have settled in, and the feedback provided has been implemented, meaning a huge improvement.

The menu has been changed completely, following the feedback supplied (read our initial review here) and the arrival of Jacques de Jager, the new chef at Salt Restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel on Victoria Road in Bantry Bay, Cape Town, who was previously a Top 10 chef at Grande Provence in Franschhoek. 

The biggest change is that cooked breakfasts can now be prepared on site, and these include eggs benedict with bacon (R 45) or salmon (R55), scrambled eggs with smoked salmon (R55), eggs en cocotte – egg cooked individually in cream or butter in a small ramekin (R 45), and savoury ostrich mince (R40).  Further breakfast treats on offer are yogurt, berries and nuts (R 30), bagel and cream cheese (R 20), salmon and cream cheese bagel (R 40), muffins and croissants.  Breakfast is served all day, good news for breakfast fans.  A good cappuccino (R 14) is served too.

The lunch options, which probably are available all the way until the Deli closes at 9pm, include chicken supreme with asparagus salad (R 65), stuffed aubergine (R 60), lamb pita and side salad (R 65), onion and goat’s cheese quiche (R 38), endive, pear and walnut salad (R 40), game terrine (R 65) and a roast beef sandwich (R 65).  I had a tasty lasagne with side salad for R 50, which was not on the menu, but was mentioned.   The lamb pita was dry, and could do with more tzatziki, if there was any in it at all.  A menu board of specials is changed daily, and is additional to the printed menu choice.

A delight for Salt Deli visitors is the large selection and quality of the wines on the winelist – every one of the 12 red wines and 10 white wines is offered by bottle or by glass.   The Bosman Rose costs R 23 per glass, while the most expensive white wine is the Waterford Chardonnay, at R 51.  The reds range from R 31 for a 2005 Waverley Hills Cabernet Sauvignon  to R 55 for a 2006 Ataraxia Serenity blend.  Two Shiraz’s are stocked – 2007 Kleine Zalze and 2006 Andreas.

The star of Salt Deli is the Assistant Manager Cisca, who recognised the guest from the last visit almost two months ago, and came to the table regularly to chat, requesting feedback about the menu and the meal. 

One aspect of Salt Deli that is hidden if one sits outside, is the quality of the bakery items, and the Deli could capitalise on this more in its list of desserts.  The finest tarts (fruit, chocolate, lemon meringue and others) at a mere R 10 each, and the crispiest and lightest pastries (croissants, apple, raisin, danish) at only R 8 each, are fantastic value for take-home treats compared to the expensive ones sold at Voila! in the Cape Quarter.  A good selection of breads is also sold.   The staff dealing with this part of the Deli were exceptionally friendly and accommodating.

Salt Deli has been transformed for the better, and now is well worth regular visits.  In about three weeks the Vodka and Champagne Bar is planned to open upstairs.  Open until 9 pm every day, Victoria Road, Bantry Bay, opposite the Ambassador Hotel. Tel 021 439 7258.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

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