There are hardly any restaurants that try to provide a unique dining experience with Indian food. Most of them end up serving the same Paneer Tikka, Tandoori Chicken and the like.
Among the multiple North Indian fine dine restaurants with their typical menus, Salt really stands out with their tasteful dishes that truly have something unique to offer. I got the opportunity to taste and sample their menu as well as talk to the head chef, Mr. Balaji Balachandran, about the idea behind the food.
The cuisine at Salt should not be confused with fusion cuisine. It is not a fine mix of cuisines, it is truly Indian. However, it comes with a twist. Since Mr. Balaji worked in an Indian restaurant in London, he learned how to subtly alter Indian food in taste and with ingredients to make it western. And there came the idea of Salt. The food here has a slight western touch to it and the combination of both aspects is truly wonderful.
They also play around a lot with ingredients and menus. You can find varying, unique menus for each occasion, including a weekend menu or a festive menu.
Also, Indian food is usually quite heavy on the palate but Mr. Balaji wants to change that. The aim is to serve absolutely delicious food that doesn’t overwhelm the palate or the taste buds.
The ambiance is classy and elegant with a touch of fun. It definitely looks like a cross between an Indian fine dine and a continental cafe. There are huge couches, simple white chairs, brick walls and pretty planters. They also have white boards and funny quotes. The chef explained to me that the thought was to create a space that has the feel of a rustic dhaba with a touch of elegance.
Roasted Paneer, Broccoli and Fruit Salad: This salad was a beautiful combination of mild and spicy. The raisins, leafy vegetables and olives kept it subtle whereas the paneer tikka and tandoori broccoli added a touch of spice. It was overall light and refreshing.
Subzi Kur-kure: This is an Indianized version of the spring rolls, made from deep fried Roomali Roti. Unlike the typical spring rolls, this was less oily and slightly spicier with stuffed vegetables and raisins. The tamarind chutney went well with this appetizer.
Olive Paniyaram: As a typical South Indian, I am used to eating this on a regular basis but the one I had here was definitely different. It was stuffed with cottage cheese and olives, giving it a westernized taste. Have it with the tomato chutney to make it yummier.
Dahi Tawa Kabab: Absolutely loved this one! Hung yogurt is beautifully blended with cottage cheese and made into a cutlet. It’s creamy, cheesy and just melts in your mouth. Mmmmm!
Saffron Chicken Malai Tikka: I like my chicken to be boneless and that’s exactly how this was. The marinade on the chicken had subtle tastes of saffron, cream and chilli. It was very creamy but not bland at all. The chicken was wonderfully cooked too.
Galouti Kebab: The best ever Galouti kebab I have ever had in my entire life. Wow! The lamb was so finely minced that it again just melted away. It was served with a saffron kulcha which added a bit of crunch to this soft kebab.
Breads: Another specialty of theirs is their breads. I tried out three of their breads, each of which were made with basil, cherry tomato and black olive. The taste is not too different but these ingredients definitely add a touch of flavor and provide a refreshing change from the regular options.
House Black Dal: I am someone who dislikes Dal but the Dal Makhani here blew me away! It was so buttery, creamy and delicious that I couldn’t say no to a second serving. It’s their chef special as well.
Chennai Chicken Curry: To be honest, this was one dish that did not quite impress me because it was too typically South Indian for my taste with a lot of coconut. I dislike coconut in my food. But if you like it, this one is for you.
Vilaati Subzi Jalfreezi: This was no ordinary subzi. It had exotic vegetables like zucchini, broccoli and bell peppers in a spicy mix. Went wonderfully with the breads.
Mutton Biriyani: Flavorful, well cooked rice, mixed with some soft mutton and vegetables. It was mild and soothing to the palate. If you like your Biriyani spicy, do mention it to the staff, because this one is not for spice lovers.
Elaneer Payasam: I am a great fan of tender coconut and this beautiful payasam was made from tender coconut. It was creamy, not-too-sweet with bits of coconut in it. I could have 10 of this.
Saffron Gelato: Have you ever had saffron-flavoured dessert? I hadn’t. The taste was again very mild, with a bit of kesar in it. Also felt that this was more ‘’ice cream’’ than gelato as it was creamy rather than icy. A good one, nonetheless.
Coffee Creme Brulee: All you caffeine addicts, here’s your poison. Coffee in a dessert never tasted better. The crystallised sugar coating, the creamy brulee with a rich taste of coffee and the English biscuit, it was a match made in heaven! Should I say #dessertporn?
Saffron Malai Chicken
House Black Daal
Coffee Creme Brulee
Forum Mall, Koramangala and VR Mall, Whitefield
The Final Call:
If you want to try something new and get a taste of Indian food with a twist, this is your go-to place. And even if you just want some feel-good food, you won’t be disappointed!
Psstt.. You might be wondering how I felt after such a heavy meal? Well, I must say, Chef Balaji was right. This meal left me feeling full but not at all overwhelmed. So, kudos to that!