Lobster in uthukulli white butter, anyone?
Being a coastal city, one would think we would be flooded with seafood joints. Instead, an all-out seafood menu is not as common as we would like it to be. After Marina restaurant in the city and others on the ECR stretch, we believe that this new place on the block will see a rush of pescetarians. The 75-seater located in Nungambakkam, is perched on top of Sandy’s Chocolate Laboratory. Splashed with aqua hues, the simple interiors has some wooden paddles on the wall, in keeping with the theme. Popular restaurateur and chef, Sandesh Reddy (fondly called Sandy), who is one of the partners at Sea Salt, tells us to expect home-style South Indian coastal cuisine — with influences from Kerala, Andhra and local flavours.
You can take your pick from the tank full of live lobsters and crabs creeping about, and also from
trays of the catch of the day cooling their fins on ice, at the Sea Salt. Their tagline ‘fresh off the boat’ has not been stated lightly! Chef Harish Rao, the consultant chef here, and whose 17 years of experience includes stints at restaurants like the Dakshin and Avartana, tells us how they take it further here. “We focus on a seasonal catch,” he insists, indicating the likes of the pointy-nosed Bally Hoo from the range of Indian halibut, Yellow Tail Scad and others, which are not found commonly at other restaurants.
Soon we are plied with nannari sherbet as the table is heaped with entrées. The Curry Leaf Prawns are flavoursome but is overshadowed promptly by their own ilk — the coconut prawns that are tossed in fresh coconut shavings. For some heat, there is an irresistible crab in a dynamite pepper masala. Though they have a thali meal (where smaller portions of add-on appetisers can be ordered) that is available only for lunch, we decide to go a la carte, making our way toward the appams that are beckoning from the live station. You can choose from an option of tamarind, thokku, raw mango and coconut milk curries for preparing your choice of fish. For the fish fry, we are served the delectable sea bream with a chilli and coriander masala, while the flaky Malabar trevally brought to the table has the familiar homely flavour of red chilli and tamarind.
Fish & tell
The lobster in uthukulli white butter, with delicate accents of coriander and green peppercorn makes a strong case for a flavoursome meal by itself. Appam with the Raw Mango Fish Curry is spot on with the tang of the fruit and the spices complementing each other perfectly. While we gorge on produce from the sea, we are caught by surprise when the Ghee Roast Chicken has us palate gushing with praise. And to add to that thought, the Kari Choru, which is well-cooked jeera samba rice mixed with a delicious, boneless mutton curry, gives the fish gravy a run for its money. A close cousin to the biryani, this one is an easy hit.
For dessert, we keep it tame with an elaneer payasam and a jaggery-sweetened, ghee-floating wheat payasam. However, it is the soothing, spiced, Sulaimanyah tea that finally makes it a complete meal.
Meal for two at approximately INR 900.