I appreciate anyone who opens a place with "vodka" and "deli' in the name. It's pretty ballsy and, even though the vodka bar hasn't opened yet, the restaurant aspect of the Salt Deli & Vodka Bar seems to be doing nicely. I checked it out for breakfast on Saturday.
Occupying the space where Carlucci's used to be, Salt is done fairly simply using timber decking, screeded slate floors and an open, supermarket-style shelving layout to showcase the deli items. There is a funky stone bar, glass displays boasting fresh tarts and pastries, mounted bread cages and (the now standard) blackboards listing daily specials.
Having squashed a good trail run with Icepick that morning and with a debaucherous wedding planned that night, I was keen to keep it healthy. Something I was stoked to see was ostrich mince on toast - I went with rye.(R40). I dig mince on toast and the added health benefits of the ostrich sold me. The dish might not have been the prettiest to look at, but the seasoning was good enough and knowing how easy it is to dry out such a lean protein I think the chef did well. Pafoof had a bagel with smoked salmon, cream-cheese and capers (R45). Not exactly culinary genius but something I did enjoy was the fact that each component was brough in separate bowls, allowing a customer to add the amount they like (we all know making a bagel/sandwich is one of the most personal tasks around). The Queen went with an unusually dainty order of two poached eggs and fresh tomato on sourdough (R20 - steal). Again, the presentation impressed me as the eggs were served up in individual saucers. Little details yes, but that's what I love. Service throughout the meal was brilliant and some of the better tea I have recently enjoyed topped off a great breakfast.
The lunch menu also sounded good with things like chicken and asparagus salad, stuffed aubergine, lamb pita and a game terrine on offer. There's also a nice selection of wines by the glass, suggesting this place could do well during lunchtime trade too.
Recently chef Jacques de Jager joined the original Salt restaurant (located just across the road in The Ambassador Hotel) and with high expectations, Salt Deli seems to be an extension of the lofty goals the group obviously has. I personally can't wait for the upstairs champagne and oyster bar to open.
Call them on (021) 439-3354.