After hearing many mixed reviews of Salta – some super positive, and some merely average – Ms Demeanour, Mr Sunday and myself wanted to check out the Argentinian restaurant specializing in steak in the rather convenient location of the Icon on Gopeng St ,and decide for ourselves once and for all…..
Frequent readers will know that we only write about places that meet the Nomad-grade so well…you can already tell that the tone of this is going to be quite positive.
Salta is a pretty simple and elegant restaurant. It sort of feels like a New York steakhouse. I particularly liked the partially open kitchen so the smell of the meat comes wafting through the restaurant (vegetarians beware!).
After a very warm welcome, we were lead to a table towards the back of the restaurant and were swiftly handed menus and our water glasses immediately filled…..Very good start and I must declare that the service was excellent throughout the lunch even though there were pretty packed. Well done guys.
Deeply analyzing the menu, it really dawned on me the uniqueness of this restaurant. I must admit, I was expecting just a load of meat. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that this parilla restaurant’s menu is actually very extensive, including the likes of empanadas (little pastries filled with various cheeses, meats, veggies etc), pastas, Argentine salads and soups…Of course meat was the main feature but we’ll get to that later.
So with three hungry Nomads, we decided to order a nice little cross-section of the menu.
First up (and complimentary on all tables) was a bread basket with various chimichurri – little spicy and pickled vegetable condiments. Although these are traditionally meant to be eaten with the meats, I highly recommend you give them a try by themselves with the bread. Really quite good stuff! Tangy, fresh and oh-so-yummy!
Getting ready for a predominantly meat-feast, we decided to start of ‘light’ and try their Carpacho de Lomo ($14) – beef carpaccio with a soft poached quail egg with a touch of basil and anchovy puree. For $14 this is a must-have! The beef is tender and delicate and is surprisingly enhanced by the presence of the trinity of sweet sun-blushed tomato, balsamic glaze and bitter rocket. We completely polished the plate clean!
And for a taste of something totally and uniquely Argentinian, we went for the Humitas con Natilla de Queso ($14) – traditional sweet corn cake with Parmesan custard, olives rings &, semi dried tomatoes. This was a very interesting dish for sure. I liked the texture of the corn cake…bizarrely it almost seemed like a cross between tofu and cheesecake! Again the semi dried tomato enhanced the flavour, with a saltiness from the olives adding an extra layer.
As an accompaniment for what was to come, it was welcome though.
Now for the meat…
Between the three of us, we went for a broad selection, two different style steaks and a hearty Salta burger ($15) which is where I’ll begin.
This was one beautiful burger and was close to being perfect. Massive and tasty beef patty, great salad and selection of condiments…One major problem…It fell apart everywhere making for a very messy eating experience. Such a shame as it’s really delicious.
As for my compadres, they opted for the Entrana ($31 for 200g) – the out-side skirt. According to the Argentine Chef, this is one of the most popular cuts in Argentina and is traditionally served pretty much well-done. As you’d expect from a well-done piece of meat, it wasn’t exactly squishy and tender, however it was bursting with flavour.
As for the Lomo ($38 for a 300g beef tenderloin)…this was something I could sink my teeth into! And indeed it was as good as it looked. On the price-point it’s rare to see such a good cut of meat for such a reasonable price. Well worth it.
I should actually mention that for all our dishes we opted for al-a-carte. Their lunch menu is insanely reasonable and you can effectively get a quality steak lunch for under $20!
So to answer the initial question, yes Salta is worth its salt(a)! The fare here is good and the restaurant ticks all the right boxes. The service is great, portions are generous, reasonably priced and it has a smart yet relaxed atmosphere. If you’re in the area and fancy trying something a bit different to satisfy your meat craving, it’s a worthy option to lay on the table.
Written by The City Nomad