Restaurant Review: Salt Café
- Donald Reid
- 15 October 2014
Proper food with a bit of punch from ex-Bonham chef Neil Mulgrew
Donald Reid finds an impressive early-to-late café on Morningside Road brings out the hidden hipster in Edinburgh’s most sedate suburb
Despite the salty-seadog clinker boat, the prominence of North Berwick lobster and other seafood on the menu and some down-to-earth informality, a key inspiration for this new venue is the acronym of Seasonal and Local Thinking. This might be sound enough in concept, but also just a twice-fried, hand-cut chip away from being a tad pretentious. What owners John Hannay and Chris Miles – along with ex-Bonham chef Neil Mulgrew – have created is a confident, approachable venue of robust industrial chic serving proper food with a bit of punch. Eggs benedict with truffle hollandaise is a bellweather dish of sound basics and creative thinking. Head-clearing oysters and ‘anti-fogmatic’ cocktails are available at all times – not common in Morningside cafés – while evening dishes feature crispy mackerel boldly allowed to sink into a wasabi gazpacho, or homemade paneer alongside tenderly crisped cauliflower. Not many places segue from daytime café with substance to comfortable evening venue for drinks, snacks or fuller meals. Save for a slightly raucous soundtrack, Salt achieves it with scarcely a beat missed, the reclaimed gymnasium planks and picture windows mellowing under dimmed filament bulbs as darkness gathers.