With an al fresco setting overlooking the Dubai skyline from The Palm Jumeirah, Turkish chain Rixos’s latest restaurant Salt is a charming restaurant away from the hub bub of downtown Dubai. With an obvious specialty in Turkish cuisine, Salt also features a creative and fascinating relationship to the ingredient which serves as its name – salt.
The simple look and feel of Salt will certainly be unexpected for many Dubai dwellers used to the opulent decor of the city’s high-end restaurants. This place, however, emphasizes a different kind of luxury – one which is more calm, serene and simple. The venue has the air of a seaside Mediterranean restaurants where friendly and cheerful waiters are ready to recommend dishes and also provide a laugh or two.
The cuisine of this restaurant matches its easy-going ambiance. It is dominated by a liberal use of olive oil, herbs, fresh fish, sea food and many mezze dishes – all of which exemplify typical Aegean cooking. Our first starter which arrived to the table was a big red tomato and a variety of different salts. My guest and I eyed each other as we saw a big red ball on the waiter’s tray. This big, red and circular form appeared at once to be an apple and we both exclaimed to each other how odd it was to start off a meal with a big apple on a big white dish. No, it was clearly not a piece of fruit, but a way in which to taste a variety of six different salts.
For starters we selected a variety of different cold and hot entrées including pickled cucumber; Salt Prawns Salad made of peeled tomatoes, ezine cheese, prawns, herbs and crushed salt; Yaprak Sarma or stuffed vine leaves with rice and fresh herbs; a delicious Aegean Eggplant Salad made with charcoal grilled eggplant mixed with bell peppers and marinated with olive oil and lemon; Aegean Octopus Salad with marinated octopus, fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil and, one of our favorites, the Sea Bass Ceviche served with lemon, lime and galangal marinated with brunois vegetables. We also sampled two soups – the Red Lentil Soup served with crab meat and prawns and the Raki Bouillabaise – a fennel-based fish soup flavored with Turkish Raki. Both were equally enticing although we leaned more towards the Red Lentil wondering as we sipped its contents why it appeared to be green – a color which the waiter explained was reflective of the ingredients used. Still bemused by its outer appearance we relished in the soup’s fragrant mix of lentils.
Given its specialty of Aegean cuisine we opted for two seafood dishes for the main course – the Grilled Sea Bass served with steamed citrus scented asparagus and saffron risotto and Grilled Prawns with avocado, blood orange and micro leaf salad with dill emulsion. Both with incredibly fresh and savory and some of the best seafood both of us had yet to have in Dubai.
To finish off with a sweet we opted for traditional Helva – a semolina cooked with pine nuts, orange and sugar syrup served with cinnamon ice cream, and Home Made Baklava. While not too heavy, both were very sugary yet provided the perfect contrast to the Aegean feast we had just experienced. For top-notch Turkish cuisine in a relaxing and peaceful setting, Salt is the place to be.
Salt is located on Rixos The Palm Jumeirah. Tel: +971 44575555. www.rixos.com.