For one of our last meals in China, a group of us decided to meet for a western-style lunch at upscale restaurant SALT. I had heard that the female chef recently won best chef in Beijing, as well as rave reviews about the food, so I was eager to try it out and greatful for the opportunity to dine within my comfort zone- place settings consisting of forks, for example, as well as all english menus (which admittedly posed some difficulty for my Chinese friends). The restaurant was located in a loft-type space with big windows, lots of light, and a very modern style.
Each table was set with three types of salt (black, red, and white), presumably for seasoning each dish to taste, as well as creamy tomato herb butter, olive tapenade, and fluffy herb and cheese rolls for snacking.
We opted for the 3 course lunch for 108 RMB (about $15), beginning with a choice of soup or salad, main entree, and dessert. I chose the smoked chili soup with herbed crouton and truffle oil to start and, man, am I glad I did. The soup was creamy and rich with a nice balance of salt and heat. The crisp from the herbed croutons was perfection.
Next, I chose the eggplant and goat cheese napolean (the only veggie entree option). After the soup, I had high expectations for this dish and I’m sorry to report that I was slightly disappointed. It reminded me of warmed over eggplant lasagna-not bad, but nothing special and underseasoned for my taste.
For my last course (my favorite-dessert!) I chose the chocolate mousse with crushed pistachios and raspberry sauce. It was heaven. Of course, I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to dessert, especially chocolate dessert, but this mouse was wonderful. It was so rich and almost pudding-like as opposed to being really light and fluffy. The pistachios and raspberries paired like soul mates with the chocolate. So good.
Afterward, I had a cappuccino pick-me-up and more chocolate.
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