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Tweak the menu and city eatery will be worth its Salt

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

By Lee Trewhela

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IT'S easy to write a glowing food review and it's also a bit of a doddle to pen a damning one too, if not that pleasant.

However, the hardest restaurant critique to get the keyboard a flurry is the one that's simply ... okay.

The venue which satisfies for the duration of your stay, where staff are courteous, where the food is well cooked, hot when it needs to be hot and cold when it needs to be cold.

The sort of place where, though perfectly fine, two hours later you can't really remember much about the experience, as if Will Smith has performed some culinary Men In Black mind trick.

I have to say – although there is much in its favour (try the antipasti board, for one) – Salt Kitchen Bar in Truro is a bit like this.

Salt bar and restaurant in Hayle has proved to be a huge hit for several years, which obviously prompted a second outlet in the city – home to almost 50 food emporiums. Too many frankly, for a city as tiny as Truro.

In that overloaded dining vista you have to be doing something exceptional or at least something different to stand out and, more importantly, survive.

It's early days for Salt so we have to give it the benefit of the doubt, but the menu needs to be more exciting.

Steaks and burgers in an environment already packed with steaks and burgers may not be the way. The elephant, not necessarily in the room but at least next door, is Hubbox, which has recently opened alongside and already has a huge fan base.

Throw in Mustard & Rye just up the road and Sam's In The City and The Lounge across town (but maybe not Burger King opposite), and you are sinking under a veritable giant patty of grilled meat.

Don't get me wrong, Salt's food is good – I had a locally reared and matured sirloin steak with onion rings, chips and salad; a lovely succulent steak. It was preceded by oven-baked, garlic-infused Cornish camembert with chutney and focaccia – again, tasty, and tasty is all you want fundamentally.

Our other main was scampi and chips – monkfish scampi, mind you, and perfectly succulent and flavoursome, but scampi and chips all the same.

This sort of bistro food is looking tired in these days of more adventurous palates.

The real winner here is the bar – they concoct a mean line in cocktails; the special Taste Of The Orient was a perfumed delight, all Hendricks gin and lychee. A leaning towards these specialist drinks and more atmosphere – DJs, musicians, or simply a more buzzing soundtrack on the speakers – would make this establishment worth its Salt. At the moment it smacks of the sort of venue where you chuck some tapas down your throat before heading to other bars in the city. Though many would argue, there's nothing wrong with that ....

Price: One starter, two mains, two cocktails, a glass of wine and two coffees – £58. See salt-truro.co.uk for menu and more information.

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