June 07, 2014

Salt Grill & Sky Bar by Luke Mangan @ ION Orchard ~ Quality Modern Australian Cuisine With Fantastic View

Dining with a view is always pleasing, even more especially so when we're talking about the spectacular city scenery offered by Salt Grill & Sky Bar, which is perched up high on level 55 (said to be the highest point in Orchard Road) in the bustling ION Orchard mall. Opened by renowned Celebrity Chef Luke Mangan, our lunch experience at his restaurant was nothing short of what one would expect from a swanky fine-dining establishment - Quality food, impeccable service and excellent atmosphere.

I have my boss to thank for his brilliant venue selection. We felt like special guests, from the moment the concierge on ION level 4 guided us to the dedicated lift whisking us off to level 55, and as we walked through the awe-inspiring interior to our table right next to the full height window which runs almost the length of the entire restaurant.

Salt opened its doors with much fanfare in 2010 and has recently went through a renovation for an updated look. Floor is refreshed with a new lay of carpet, stunning light sculptures hanged sexily from the ceilings and the mezzanine floor now sees a brand new bar for the enjoyment of wines and cocktails. Want some privacy? The exclusive dining area on the 56th floor will provide you with that.

This is the perfect place you would bring your corporate clients to impress them, or your date for a romantic special night out. The contemporary and stylish setting makes it ideal for events and launches too. Hard to go wrong.

My recollection of my previous visit to Salt when it just opened was vague, except that the lighted-up view of the city was gorgeously breathtaking at night, and my 'supper' of desserts were delicious. Glad that this visit allowed me to properly try out the food menu. The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Mathew Leighton who is based here, while Chef Luke Mangan makes visits to Singapore every few months.

Salt showcases Modern Australian Cuisine, which can be defined as a fusion of new ingredients and traditional techniques with the best ingredients available, brought by the inspiration of different cuisines. What we can expect is a variety of high quality fresh produce imported from Australia.

Prices are not as intimidating as I had imagined, with the Weekday Lunch Set starting from an affordable S$45++ and S$60++ for a 2-course or 3-course meal. There is a good selection for each course of entrée, main and dessert, featuring mostly signature dishes from the ala-carte menu. With the items being rotated monthly, there is always a reason to visit and revisit.

While my colleague verdicted his entrée of Salmon Tarte to be good, it was my other colleague's plate of Glass Sydney Crab Omelette which had me casting all the envious glances. I must knock myself in the head for not doing my 'homework' before coming, because the omelette is one of Salt's signature dishes which many has raved to be a delightfully soft and creamy creation filled with sweet crab meat and mushrooms in flavorful miso mustard broth. Okay, next time!

My choice of Parma Prosciutto did not come as a surprise, as I always have a soft spot for those thinly-sliced cured ham from the Parma region of Italy. Reputed to be the king of all cured meat, its luscious tone color and delectable saltish taste was undeniably satisfying and only needs a slight drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to enhance it.

Main courses of Char-grilled Barramundi and Portuguese Baby Chicken soon followed. The plating was nothing overly fancy, just elegantly simple and visually appealing. When you see the plates being cleaned out, the taste of the food has already spoken for itself.

The grass-fed Beef Fillet with red wine sauce was on lean side, slightly overdone than my requested medium-rare, but the adequate tenderness and flavor of the meat gave it a redeeming bite. Served alongside with sauté spinach and a generous portion of eggplant sauce, it all added up to be pretty substantial.

There is the option to supplement the lunch set with sides such as Heirloom Tomato Salad ($14), Mashed Potato ($13) and of course we had to order the perennial favorite, Truffle Fries ($14). Scented in truffle oil and tossed with shavings of Parmesan cheese, these skinny fries are certainly addictive treats. I requested for Roast Mushrooms ($15) as well. Those little morsels of earthly aroma coupled with garlic butter always make great accompaniment to any meals.

Luke Mangan's Liquorice Parfait with Lime is the highly recommended signature dessert which is served not just in Salt Grill in Singapore, but also throughout all his restaurants in Australia and overseas. As we were concerned that it might taste 'cough syrupy' and not feeling very adventurous that afternoon, we decided on the refreshing Lemongrass Panna Cotta with char-grilled pineapple & ginger beer sorbet and Chocolate Delice with salted caramel, honeycomb & praline ice cream. Safe choices, but gratifying to the tastebuds nevertheless.

Within the short two hours we were dining there, we witnessed the changing of our unpredictable local weather from sunshine to the sudden sweep of dark clouds, and finally back to clear skies with the sea horizon in sight again.

My takeaway from this lunch was not just the delicious food and awesome company, but also a reminder to embrace the sunshine while it lasted. Gloomy skies may come but are just prelude to warm brightness that will eventually follow. Who knows, you might even get a beautiful rainbow! When God takes something away, what He's giving next will definitely be better. Looking forward to the new glorious chapter of life :)

Salt Grill & Sky Bar by Luke Mangan
Address: ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, #55-01 & #56-01, Singapore 238801
Contact: +65 6592 5118
Website: http://www.saltgrill.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaltGrillSkybar

Opening Hours (Mon-Sun)
Restaurant: Lunch 11.00am-2pm / Dinner (Thu-Sun) 6pm-10pm / Dinner (Fri & Sat) 6pm - 10.30pm
Sky Bar: 11am - 11.30pm
Brunch (Weekend): 11am-2pm / Afternoon Tea 2pm-6pm


Proceed to Level 4 of ION Orchard and look for the concierge desk. At the rear of the desk you will see a sign for Salt Grill & Sky Bar, see the receptionist and they will direct you to the dedicated lift for a ride to the restaurant.

Prices are subject to prevailing taxes and service charge.

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