Luke Mangan describes his food as 'simple but well excecuted' and he's right.
It's the sort of food where the true flavours of the produce shine through, enhanced by clever combinations and a minimal presentation - a style that especially appeals me.
Newly opened on the first floor of the new Hilton Surfers Paradise, Salt grill brings a new option and a touch of glamour to the upper end of Surfers Paradise dining. The decor embraces some of the Gold Coast's glitz with large circular windows and a feature panel of silver hanging beads, which create a opaque screen. .
While it's not formal, this is a place where your fellow diners are not likely to be wearing thongs and shorts or a beanie, as I recently encountered when dining. You don't need to save it for special but a little dress effort will be required.
The night started downstairs in the Deli area with selection of freshly shaved meats and other goodies.
We then moved upstairs to the restaurant which has a large open plan kitchen so you can see the hive of activity when meals are prepared. The strategically placed mirrors certainly add to the room's drama.
There's also a walk-in wine room and three separate dining zones from traditional tables to cosy burnt red leather booths
It's the sort of place where you'll find a fine selection of oysters, tapas, charcuterie, salads, entrees, mains and sides, as well as meat and fresh fish served straight from the grill and a number of ‘mains to share’ including Barramundi with Asian greens and crab stir fry.
Salt brings together many of Luke's favourite dishes including his signature Hiramasa Kingfish Sashimi with Persian feta, ginger and eschallot dressing, which continues to receive rave reviews at The Palace in Melbourne and glass brasserie in Sydney.The dessert menu includes Luke’s signature Liquorice Parfait with lime syrup and tuile.
The opening celebration menu was a six course exploration of Salt's menu. I loved the kingfish course but I unusually was equally entranced by the tender BBQ spiced sirloin and it's creamy celeriac puree (glad there was no calorie count on that bit).
Coconut broth, Sydney spice
Kingfish sashimi, ginger, eschallot and Persian feta matched with a 2010 Penfolds Koonunga Hill 'Autumn' Riesling Barossa Valley, SA.
Char-grilled quail, zucchini, currants, pine nuts and basil matched with Tarra Warra Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Vic
BBQ spiced sirloin, celeriac puree, green beans, Tarra Warra Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Vic
Meredith sheep's milk yoghurt cheesecake, textures of passionfruit matched with Robert Channon Sparking, Granite Belt, Qld.
Coffee and tea followed.
A good way to explore the menu on your own would be with the seven course degustation menu at $120 per person or $205 including complementary wines.
Salt grill at Hilton Surfers Paradise, 6 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast. p 5680 8000