Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Restaurant Review: Salt Tapas and Bar

By Monday, May 14, 2012 , , , , , ,

Z, my skinnyfat twin, finally came back from another of her month long Europe trip and of course an overdue pigging out session was planned! Since our tummies often crave for the same foods, it's not too hard coming to a consensus on what to eat but our temperamental taste buds also meant that we only decide on a particular cuisine on the morning of our date. We are particular that way. :P For our ladies' night out, we decided that tapas was the way to go- wide variety of food and plenty of sangria! 
We headed down to Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan's Salt Tapas & Bar at Raffles City Shopping Centre for our catch up session. Luke is also behind the Salt Grill at Ion Orchard (which has an awesome view) but Salt tapas definitely has a more relaxed atmosphere. The mix of warm lights, raw brick walls, Spanish tiles and wooden table tops radiates a laid-back ambience. We decided to sit at the alfresco section where we had a barrel for a tabletop and high stools for our bums. That gave us a good view of the Raffles hotel minus all that Cityhall crowd. 
The food is an Australian style tapas with Middle Eastern and North African influence. There are only a few dishes reminded us of Spanish tapas e.g. Chorizo and Iberico ham. That was pretty fine with us since our main course was in fact the sangria and the food was just to prep our tummies for the drinking ahead. :)
For starters, we had the Oyster in chickpea cumin batter and tzatziki ($5 each). I must say that the oysters are really puny. I could hardly taste much of it but the chickpea tempura batter was light and buttery. The tzatziki at the end was refreshing even though the taste was a little bland. We kinda like this but wished it the oysters were bigger.

We also had the truffle fries which were a miss ($10). Could hardly taste the truffle oil and the fries were soggy after a while. I must say PS cafe still has one of the better shoestring truffle fries. The Coastal Settlement also has yummy truffle fries.
Tapas- Soft shell prawns with chilli and garlic aioli ($15). Crispy fried shrimps tossed with a salt and spice mix, Chinese Canto style. Perfect savory snack to go with beer or in our case, sangria. I'm usually uncomfortable about eating the entire prawn with head and all but these were crispy enough to eat and the meat were still juicy. The aioli dip is a tad heavy and kinda masks the taste of the prawns but it's nice if you just add a dash.
We love the chewy, sinewy texture of the BBQ spiced beef tongue with fried cauliflower, pistachio tabbouleh and harissa yogurt ($14). Tongue can be kinda iffy but trust me you will fall in love after eating it. The chewy texture is kinda like pig's liver (another iffy thingy) but liver is a little more powdery. This is chunky, moist and somewhat tender. This dish is definitely Moroccan inspired. Love the mix of pistachio tabbouleh with the yogurt but the sourish cream kinda overpowers the meat. The pistachio tabbouleh reminded me of my favorite Walnut cake at Pasha (read about it here). Nevertheless, it's definitely a healthier substitute for mayonnaise. Really interesting dish.
More meat coming your way. The Wagyu sausage with soft polenta, capers and tomato ($14 for a small portion- 1 sausage; $25 for large portion) is well seasoned and tender. Did i mention super juicy as well? I love the use of polenta as a replacement for mash because it isn't too very starchy or heavy; it has a light powdery style that is slightly grainy.
The highlight of the night was obviously the Sangria! How can you do Ladies' night without drinks right? The economists in us decided to go for the Punch Bowl ($70) because 2 glasses per pax ($17/glass) would already cover the cost of the Bowl. That was despite knowing that we could never ever finish it. 4 freaking litres of Sangria! I had 5 glasses and Z another 4 and it was still half full/half empty. Ethan (or was it Ian?) offered us free drinks in replacement of the unfinished drinks the next time we head back. How nice. The servers were so patient with us despite us holding them back from closing. Must have the Luke's very own Sangria concoction. This is definitely our happy juice. Sangria Challenge accepted! Must finish the entire bowl next time. 
Despite being stuffed and all, we still needed desserts to conclude our meal. Gooey Hot Chocolate Tart with Caramelized Banana and Salted Caramel Ice Cream ($14) was our choice and i would say their desserts are not that impressive. The chocolate wasn't dark/dense enough and i found it too sweet. The tart was bland too. I am almost certain that quality chocolate isn't used. :/ The ice cream was way too salty! I was literally eating salt flakes. Not the best execution. 
The really happy us! Surprisingly i wasn't red! I think my alcohol tolerance has been raised. Now now, who is up for the Sangria Challenge? :))

Verdict- Recommended!
Food: 4/5 (skip the desserts and go for the sangria!)
Service: 5/5 The servers were ever patient and friendly. They gave great recommendations too!
Atmosphere: 5/5 Laid back and chillaxing. Great place to hang out with friends over drinks!

Salt Tapas & Bar
#01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre
+65 6837 0995
Daily: 11.30am - 10pm

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  1. Agree that Service was good, and food was, yah... less than expected.