I loved Salt since it first opened, but I hadn't been visiting it lately, and part of it was just not being in that part of town as much. The empire is spreading out, reaching out past Gastown into Kitsilano. This is perfect for me, as I pass through Kits all the time, on my way home from work. Salt is very simply a meat, cheese, and wine bar, but the beauty of this concept is the idea of these salty delicious things becoming more spectacular in their pairings with wine and vice versa. They accompany everything with great sides, such as the cherry compote, mixed marinated olives and the house made Piccadilly relish (yum!). The bread basket with a variety of crisps and bread is complimentary (or comes with the trios). There is lots to choose from, or you can get their help with the decision making as well. It's not going to be cheap, but there is so much flavour, the tasting nature of the experience is well worth it, and I'm always full anyway at the end. The tasting plate that gives you a choice of three meats of cheeses (I picked out two meats and one cheese) along with your choice of three sides was $16. I left the wine flight choices up to them to pair and surprise me and that was $15. Everything was delicious alone. My favourite pairing was the stone fruity Riesling with the soft cheese and cherry compote. Also delicious was the meritage specifically with the Piccadilly relish (without the roast pork).
I delight in the heightened sensory nature and intellectuality of this sort of experience. I just finished a short continuing studies course on food and wine pairing, so I was pleased to practice my careful tasting skills. With the tastings you get at Salt, there is the opportunity for many different stages of tasting if you enjoy this sort of thing. Think about all the potential combinations:
- looking at the wine by itself
- smelling the wine by itself
- tasting the wine by itself
- tasting the meats and cheeses by themselves
- tasting the meats and cheeses with their respective side dish pairings
- tasting the wine with its meat or cheese pair (are both or either better than tasting them alone? Is the wine better with the food pairing?)
- tasting the wine with the meat or cheese pair and the side and the bread
- now which bread is the best with each combination?
- tasting everything with all the other elements that it hasn't been paired with to see if the pairing is the best choice.
- do your dining companions taste the same things you do?
- and it goes on...until you run out of food and wine.