Pink Salt has been a Cross Street regular for the past ten years, attracting Eastern Suburbs patrons since achieving fame off the back of reality television show My Restaurant Rules. The current rejuvenation of Double Bay has inspired a beautiful revamp for Pink Salt, whose fit-out and menu has moved to something more relaxed and refined.
The rebrand and Mediterranean feel to the menu is more in tune with the owner Evan Hansimikali's Greek heritage. Gone are the pink and white interiors, replaced by a more natural, European look that enhances the promenade stretching towards the newly opened Intercontinental Hotel.
The atrium seating area complete with glass ceiling and chic striped awnings is a prime spot for people-watching, as Ferraris violently vroom by. White marble mosaic tiling, recycled wooden tabletops, lattice chairs and pots brimming with ferns, fresh herbs and sweet-smelling jasmine create that al fresco environment ideal for long evenings sipping cocktails. The icy pomegranate and Malibu mojito ($18) hits the spot, while the coconut chilli margarita ($19) is a summery coming together of chilli, salt, crisp orange Cointreau and milky coconut.
Head chef Mark Williamson (The Botanist, Bondi Hardware, The Tilbury) has pared back the fine dining vibe to a seasonal menu with strong Modern Australian style and notably Mediterranean accents.
The small plate selection designed for sharing offers an interesting range of choices from comfort food to delicate dishes. We start with the popcorn chicken ($15) tossed with rustically chopped spring onion and fresh chilli and served with a finger-licking good creamy Sriracha dipping sauce. For something a little swankier, try the sea-sweet seared scallops on a layer of silky cauliflower puree, which are complemented nicely by the crispy shards of pork crackling and drizzle of dark vinaigrette ($19).
The Mediterranean salads on offer are ideal for sharing. The grilled halloumi with kale, quinoa, sweet bursts of pomegranate and crunchy edge of hazelnuts is doused liberally in zesty lemon dressing ($17). The earthy beetroot with chickpeas and spelt, brought together with a creamy goats curd ($17) is another healthy alternative.
The presentation and portions sizes of the mains hint at ordering per person, but could work just as well to share. The pork belly is sizeable — statuesque layers of meat that range from dense to melt-in-your mouth to the satisfyingly crispy crust. The portion sits upon a bed of buttery savoy cabbage and golden carrot puree, with sweet baked pear offering a fragrant, fruity touch ($29).
The opulent blue eye cod topped with salty bacon crumbs ($33) is the most notable dish, assembled upon a row of asparagus fingers and creamy celeriac puree. For sides, the savoury harissa carrots with tahini remoulade ($11) is a fine accompaniment for the pork, while thick-cut sweet potato chips ($12) are an all round crowd-pleaser.
The desserts ($15 each) are a mix of hearty feeds and sophisticated dining. An excellent example of the latter is the delicate panna cotta with dainty strawberry sorbet and a smattering of biscuit crumbs, both pleasing to the eye and palate. The dense white chocolate brownie with rapidly melting chocolate gelato is a little heavy-handed.
Pink Salt is ideal for lazy weekend lunches in the sun-dappled atrium with charcuterie and cheese boards begging to be paired with a glass of wine, or a relaxed dinner with a group of friends that could easily develop into a lingering night with share plates and bar food to accompany your cocktails until 1.30am.