The junction is always a bee hive of activity regardless of which day of the week. People moving through the mall lost in their own business and chatting away. In the midst of all this rests Salt Grill and bar, sitting like and oasis of relaxation in a dessert of bustling activity. My first impression of Salt grill and bar was class, indulgence and quality; both in terms of service and product. I was pleased to discover that they lived up to my expectations. Thank you Eat Out Kenya and Yummy KE for introducing me to this gem!
Salt is a name that mirrors restaurants with the same name in Europe that offer very high service and product. It is an easy name to remember and kinda has a modern feel to it. Formerly known as WWW, this is the ultimate wine bar in Nairobi. Unlike majority of the restaurants that mostly offer french wine, Salt Grill and bar ventures into the unexplored. They have wines form all over the globe but also offer Californian wine from the Napa Valley and Wines from Spain too. These regions are not strongly associated with wine production, but they understand the craft and make really good wine.
You know the way you can go to a restaurant and taste a selected wine before having some? At Salt, you can have up to 30 glass tastings before making your order. If you are not too sure what to order, their staff know their wines and will gladly guide you to your perfect wine/champagne. They have wine tasting every 6 weeks with different pairings ; wine and cheese, wine and chocolate (can I get an Amen!) and they are seeking to introduce wine and cigars. They have the best steak in my opinion, so juicy! It is also among the few places in Nairobi that offers aged beef. Not only that, they have cold cut platters and imported cheese platters as well as a selection of smoked fish and plenty of other yummy things to chow down.
If you are a rookie at wines and all it entails, such as I am, Salt is the place to be. You will not only eat a lot, have a good time but also learn a lot about wine.
Last Thursday night during our bloggers dinner we specialized in 3 very splendid Spanish wines. If you are ever at Salt, please ensure you have a taste of one of these:
When this was first poured into my glass I thought it was champagne. It was really bubbly, golden and clear. It is made the same way champagne is, the only difference is that it is aged a little longer. It is clean , crisp and citrusy (that’s a real word LOL). Specifically, we had brut cava. It washes down well and is refreshing especially if chilled. Brut Cava has grown in popularity and it is thought because it has less sugar hence less calories. Unlike champagne, It is also a lot cheaper. That makes it a perfect bubbly pick for an picnic or an easy outdoor lunch.
Brut Cava was the pick to accompany our appetizer. Like the Spaniards, we had an appetizer of olives, almonds, green apple, toast and tomatoes and my favorite goat cheese. The cheese was my favorite item on the plater, it was so good. I feel the cheese brought out the clean feel of the cava while the olives and apple brought out the crisp feel.
This was the first red wine of the evening that we had. It has the color of rubies. On the nose, it is an intense wine predominantly with a mixture of sweet scent of fruit jam, a bit of vanilla, and aromatic woods. Some people in the crowd picked the spicy aromas of clove and coffee, with hints clay minerals. The palate is powerful and well balanced concentrate. After swallowing, the remnant taste is that of the spicy, fruity and aromatic woods, the same flavors that my nose picked initially. It was velvety with an excellent blend between fruit and wood. If you think that sounds good, wait till you taste it…
This was the wine that accompanied out main course meal.
Two words I can describe this wine with are powerful and intense. The fruit used to make this come from vines that are between 50-100 years. Because the vines are really old, the flavors of the flavors of the fruit are amplified, hence making the wing quite assertive. It is intense in its tannin, leathery taste as it is in its fruity taste. It has the deep rich color of ripe cherries. We had it with our dessert; some assorted chocolate and goat cheese. There is no better match in heaven than this one! This was my favorite wine of the evening!
I went to this dinner with no solid knowledge of how to handle wine. At this moment I cannot call myself a pro, but I learnt a lot none the less. Let me share with you the little I know 🙂
The art of wine tasting
I remember I once watched a movie where it was almost a sacrilege sipping wine without following some laid out steps. I thought this was just bureaucracy imposed on all inhabitants of earth but it turns out when you follow these steps, you actually get to experience what the wine actually tastes like .
Step 1: Smile 🙂 and be happy
Step 2: Swirl the wine glass and take a sniff. This allows you to pick out some of the flavors by aroma before drinking the wine. It also prepares you and your palate of the yumminess that’s to come.
Step 3: Take a sip of the wine and consciously try to differentiate the flavors that your tongue is picking. Do you feel some sweet? Do you feel some citrus? Or maybe a woody taste? Does the roof of your mouth and inner cheeks feel a tingle?
Step 4: Swallow the wine (obviously :D) and feel the after-taste. What taste is left in your mouth? An acidic tingle? Velvety vanilla? Fruitiness? Some dryness or smoothness?
After you discern all this, you will know the qualities of the wine. And with time you will be the pro at the party 🙂
Age of wine
How do you know the age of wine by just looking at it?
Take your wine glass and tilt it at a 45 degree angle away from you. Observe it against a white surface. Note the difference in color between the rim of the drink and its center. If the rim and the center are almost the same color, then it is a relatively young wine and has aged for about 6 months. Just like the brut cava.
But all the technicalities aside, what we really want is a place just to chill out and have good wine. To eat and drink in a place that is relaxed. To be tended to by restaurant staff who genuinely care and make us feel special. If you want all that and more, Salt is the place to be.
Do not forget to grab a copy of the next issue of Yummy Magazine to check out more about our fabulous blogger’s night out 🙂