Salt House, Cairns
A friend of mine has been bugging me to make an appearance on foodvixen and be a part of one of my reviews. My friend EG accompanied me to the Salt House for a quiet Tuesday lunch. Now like I said in a previous post first impressions last for me and I do tend to hold a grudge so after a bad dining experience at the Salt House not last Christmas but the Christmas before I haven’t returned. That lunch turned into a debacle with meals being forgotten, apologies not being made and rude and inappropriately dressed wait staff so you can understand my apprehension in going back. On reading Trip Advisor it’s clear the reviews are many and varied. Some like it, some don’t. Some say it’s the best place to dine in Cairns, some say they will never go back. Well I had a Table 52 card in my little hand and I wasn’t afraid to use it.
Upon arrival EG and I were greeted by one of the waitstaff and shown to a table. That particular table was out in the middle pretty much in direct sunlight so we asked if we could move to another table that had four seats since there seemed to be no other two seater tables out of the sun. The reply we got was “I need to keep those tables for other diners but ok”. Which other diners? The place was empty and looking around Salt House is a pretty big restaurant with plenty of places to sit. If they could fill all those tables for lunch on Tuesday then I take it all back. Everything I have said. They do however have a new Chef so I have been told.
So we took a seat, the two of us at our table for four and had a look over the menu. The Salt House does have a two course lunch menu with a glass of wine but we decided to forgo that and went with the Main Menu. I have to say that the menu wasn’t exactly exciting and it sort of forced me to choose something to eat rather than have something stand out that I wanted to eat. It appears that EG had the same problem but in the end she went with the Fish of the Day which after consultation with the waiter was confirmed as Barramundi with Vegetables, not sure what the vegetables were but they were vegetables.
When I dined at Salt House those many moons ago I ordered the Seafood Platter, which was at the time a lot more expensive at AU$50. I remember this because I ordered with my $50 voucher that I won at a Trivia Night there only a few weeks before. Seeing that the Seafood Platter was now $14 cheaper at AU$36 I decided to go with the Seafood Platter again.
Looking around at the restaurant I noticed (it didn’t seem to phase EG at all) that the chairs and furniture were all covered with mould. Considering that the main theme for the furniture is white leather it was quite noticeable. I know that the Salt House is kind of an outdoor restaurant but the furniture looks tired and weathered. It would certainly do with a good scrub of Exit Mould (mind the fumes, they are lethal) or maybe even a refurbish? The Salt House has been around for a few years now and you can tell by the state of the furniture. Still I have to give it to them it is an impressive looking restaurant, particularly by night and somewhere that I always bring friends and family from interstate for a drink in the evening during their visit.
The waiter bought me out a bowl of water with some floating lemons for my fingers and another white bowl to put my shells and what not in. Even then I noticed that the bowls were old and stained and could really do with a good old blast in the dishwasher with some Finish Powerball tablets. It was a little bit disappointing for a restaurant as exy as the Salt House.
Our meals arrived in good time and after a bit of a photo shoot of the meals we tucked in. EG’s fillet of Barramundi was a very decent serve and was succulent and cooked to perfection. The greyish skin that was still on top was slightly crispy and contrasted well with the bright green asparagus on top. The asparagus was crisp and not overcooked, the way asparagus and any other greens for that matter should be. The only problem with E’s meal was the cold vegetables on the side. It looked a bit like Ratatouille to me and tasted like it. There was some zucchini, some capsicum and Tomato as well. It was cold and had been served pretty much straight from the fridge which kind of took away from the meal a little and E said that it would have been much nicer if they had heated it up a to match the temperature of the rest of the meal. I tended to agree with her.
Next up was my Seafood Platter (for one) which consisted of a whole Moreton Bay Bug (halved), Glazed Tuna Tateki, King Prawns still in the shell (maybe 4?), two oysters, a red claw crayfish, some dipping sauces (Dill Marscapone, tzatziki and guacamole) and half a lemon. Last time I had the seafood platter there was a few extras on there like Smoked Salmon, Fish Roe, 3 oysters instead of 2, wakame seaweed and some squid, amongst a couple of other things that I can’t identify from the picture. But like I said the current Seafood Platter is AU$36 while the old one was AU$50. I am assuming that they got rid of the squid because it was horrible imported squid and no one should serve that least of all a fancy restaurant. I was pretty happy with my Seafood Platter although it was a little small and missing the wakame seafood that I so adore. Although the description of the Seafood Platter on the Salt House website does appear to be different to what I got All the items were cold, as I would expect from a Seafood Platter. That extra oyster wouldn’t have gone astray because the oysters were pretty small with not much meat in them. The dipping sauces were yummy especially the guacamole which which was nice and chunky. Um what else can I say? The presentation was good?
So where to from now? The food at Salt House was, how do I say this? Better than expected I guess. We both enjoyed our meals but had we paid full price (cue Table 52 card) I would have been a little disappointed. The service was better, not outstanding but at least the staff’s uniforms were clean this time. I tried to leave my expectations and past experience at Salt House at the door but it was a little hard to do that. I guess my beef with the Salt House is that for somewhere as high profile and as expensive as the Salt House I do expect just a little bit more from the decor, to the service, to the food. Love it or hate it, the Salt House is certainly a Cairns institution but I think I’ll just stick to ordering G and T’s from the bar from now on rather than go the dining option, after I try the new 2 course lunch menu of course.
6/2 Pier Point Rd, Cairns QLD 4807
Ph: (07) 4041 7733
Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs 12pm – midnight, Fri – Sat 7am – 2am, Sun 7am – midnight