METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES. SALT is one of those restaurants that hides itself from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. Tucked in the middle of a neighbourhood in Makati, finding it will surely be an easy breezy task... well, given that you are great with maps or if you have Waze installed in! If you do not have both do not fret, you can just heighten your sense of smell and follow the whiff of grilled meat from a distance and sniff like crazy until the smell is already too strong for you to take in; much like following where the rainbow ends to reach the big pot of gold you had been told of only to be welcomed by a blinding sight in which you cannot even open your eyes anymore to look at the greatness ahead of you. Make sure that you are looking at a white facade though when you open your eyes. More often than not, you would see cars in all directions, a long line outside the establishment especially on a Friday night and a fully opened big black gate as if inviting you to come in and see what it has to offer. When all of these considerations are complete, it will be then that you will know you are already where you are supposed to go.
There are three dining areas that you will see as you step inside the establishment. The first one is inside an airconditioned room that could be reached through a sliding door straight ahead, the second one is outside, stretching over the length of the place and the last one is on the right corner of the boxed lot near the gate. If you have a choice, I personally suggest to pick those seats inside the airconditioned room or outside at the corner to spare yourself from the smoke that travels around. We do not want the smell of smoke to stick on our skin and clothes, don't we? If you prefer more privacy though and would want to escape the hullabaloos happening near the kitchen and the grilled station, it would be best to stay stuck in that little, cozy corner outside. It may get a little hot in there but you can be assured that you will be safe from all the commotion.
The menu is straightforward. Printed on a smooth brown paper, the dishes are all out there waiting to be noticed. No frills, just the basics. We came around when they were still on their soft opening so I am not sure if there were already some additional dishes not stated here (tell me if there is a more updated menu!). The choices may be limited but I think it is already enough for a diversified group: steak lovers, fish eaters, vegetarian and chicken addicts. if you affiliate yourself in one (or more) of these categories then I surely bet you will find something that you like.
THE GRILLED TUNA
If you are in for a healthier alternative, you can never go wrong with anything fishy. The Grilled Tuna (Php 220) deserves to take the first spot because of its hefty cut, fresh taste and meaty goodness. Packed to fullness, each bite will surely make you contented and satiate you until you won't be able to take more in. Soft and juicy, the Grilled Tuna is that kind of delicious that will not make you feel guilty in any way.
THE T-BONE STEAK
Thank you for restaurants like Salt, a piece of steak is now getting more and more reachable and affordable each day. The T-Bone Steak (Php 190) is the only cut of steak available there and since I am craving for one I did not let another minute pass by and ordered it immediately. I liked mine medium rare, so when this was brought to me well done, I was appalled. I even tried to recall if I told them to prepare mine well done but I did not even remember them asking me how I wanted it to be cooked. It is not that the steak is not delicious, I just do not get steaks that are cooked to the point of being tough and rubbery. But since my brother remembered that he specifically told the waiter to make it medium rare, he called him in to ask about the mistake made and to request if they can replace it to his specification in to which the waiter replied, "Ayos na yan, Sir. Masarap din naman yan." (That's already okay, Sir. It is also delicious.). We know we can't do anything else about it when he said that and since they are not willing to resolve it either, we just dropped the issue. In short, my brother settled for something less, something that he did not order. What is the sense of ordering a steak when you can't even specify if you want it rare, medium rare or well done? I am just saying that not all people like their steak cooked well and it looked like they have already prepared and cooked the steaks beforehand which made me also doubt on the freshness of the steaks. I do not know if cooking it well done is their default but that should not be the case and an alleged steakhouse should know that. There is a lot of people now who likes to get their money's worth and who will demand for more, or worse cause a ruckus, if they feel that they did not get it. So I just hope that they will resolve it now before the word spreads like wildfire. Nonetheless, I have no complaints with the lovely sauce that comes along with the steak and the creamy potato salad!
THE COUNTRY FRIED CHICKEN
It may look like your normal fried chicken, but wait till you take a bite of this tasty dish. Infused with some spices that kicks in slowly in each bite, SALT's Country Fried Chicken (Php 180) will let you forget you are eating a chicken breast.
THE FROZEN BRAZO DE MERCEDES
We loved this take on the Brazo de Mercedes (Php 110)! With that layers of soft meringue, custard and French vanilla ice cream on a graham crust, we can't help but remember The Sweet Life's Sweet Surrender in every bite. I have a hunch that it is the same thing! Is it not? What do you think?
If you find yourself in Makati on a Friday night and you do not want go where the crowd goes, you might want to consider eating at SALT instead. Packed with options that will have you drooling, you just can't go wrong with some grilled fish or fried meat. If you like your steak rare though, be prepared for the worst. If you can assert to them that you like it rare, then you should do it. Voice it out when you think you are right and voice it out in behalf of those who do not have the heart to do it. The next diners will surely thank you for it!