Salt Tasting Room
45 Blood Alley
T: 604 633 1912
Brief Description: Cheese + Meat + Wine = Salt Tasting Room!
Inspired by an article that I read recently, I set aside this past Saturday for a whole day of “me” time. This would be a day where I would spoil myself at every turn; I would eat and drink whatever and wherever I wanted, I would set aside feelings of guilt regarding calories consumed, and I would spend three blissful hours at a day spa being buffed and preened. Indulgent? Yes. Heavenly? Most definitely! And this is how I found myself happily alone at Salt at 2pm in the afternoon, quaffing glasses of sparkling wine, surrounded by cheese.
The concept of Salt is such a simple one that I am surprised that I’m still excited by it. But the truth is that I am still excited to visit! Salt allows diners to assemble their own charcuterie plate from a menu of ten local or imported artisanal cheeses and ten cured specialty meats. Additonal condiments, such as honey, olives and grainy mustards, compliment the meat and cheese by enhancing the flavours. If, like me, you love cheese but aren’t a connoisseur you can enlist the knowledgeable staff to assist you in constructing your plate. The selections of meat and cheese change frequently so there is always something new to try, which makes return trips exciting. Soup, salad, and toasted/grilled sandwiches are the only other items on the limited menu but you go to Salt for the cheese and meat. The rest just gets in the way.
For those who desire a libation to wash their meal down with, Salt has got your back. Their comprehensive drink menu also changes constantly but you will always find a very good selection of wines (by the bottle or by the glass), beer, ports and sherries. Again, just like the food, if you are unsure of what wine to drink, the staff are happy to create a flight of wine for you, or you can make your own.
Admittedly, there is a *slight* downside to Salt: the choice of location is an odd one. Firstly, there is the name of the location: Blood Alley. Hmmmm. Doesn’t exactly get the digestive enzymes flowing. Secondly, it is hidden away down a dubious alley in the middle of Gastown. Let’s just say that it is a good thing that the welcome is warm and food is good, otherwise I doubt that I would find myself seeking out Salt, particularly not solo and definitely not on a dark night.
That aside, the restaurant is a beauty. The décor is deliberately minimalistic, and raw brick walls and an unpolished floor give Salt an unforced, rustic charm. In my experience, service is informative, professional, yet casual. Personally, I find the prices for the tasting plates very reasonable (around $15) but others might find that a bit expensive considering that you don’t get an “actual” meal. Some of the grumblings that I’ve heard about Salt is that you shouldn’t go if you are overly hungry and I think that is a fair call, however, I waddled out of there on Saturday full and happy with just a cheese plate and wine.
Final Thoughts: A great concept executed well with good quality food, supplied by excellent purveyors. Don’t be frightened off by the intimidating alley, it will all be worth it once you are in the doors.