Mumbaikars, want to escape the city for a short while? Head to Saltt in Karjat
For those who love a great drive, Saltt in Karjat is a destination restaurant that could make your weekend interesting. Situated about 70 km away from Mumbai, Saltt is a restaurant and bar nestled right in the middle of an expansive family-owned farm spread over 170 acres, offering an uninterrupted view of luscious greenery.
The 160-seater is divided into two sections, one part has a lounge feel while the other has a sense of al fresco thanks to the glass walls and doors.
Of chaats and cocktails
Soon we took our seats in the restaurant and ordered a cocktail from their botanical cocktail menu. Tangy Thoughts, a concoction of Tequila, tamarind jaggery and saffron, was a flavourful and refreshing drink that set our mood right for the spread.
When it comes to the food menu, it featured a mix of European, Asian meals and Indian favourites, including street food options like Pav Bhaji and Chole Kulche and Keema Pav. From the appetisers, we first tried Bharwan Aloo Ki Chaat. The stuffed potato topped with curd, sweet and spicy chutney, spices, sev and pomegranate offers a perfect balance of flavours, and if you are a Delhite like this writer, the taste is likely to transport you to the bylanes of Old Delhi. The next item we were served was Malai Broccoli. Braised to perfection, it offered a fine balance of creaminess while retaining the crunch of broccoli. The next item we tried was assorted kulchas, a portion of which offers three kinds of stuffed kulchas - potato, cottage cheese and blue cheese. The kulchas, prepared in the tandoor, were crunchy and had a light amount of stuffing, and if you have developed a taste for blue cheese, do try them. While their Mac & Cheese Arancini, a play of a classic Mac and Cheese with roasted red pepper remoulade, was tad-bit dry, their crispy and melt-in-your-mouth Corn and English Cheddar Samosette are worth indulging.
If looks matter to you then the vodka-based Floral Expressions is the one for you. Topped with rose petals that keeps changing their colours thanks to the presence of blue pea flower tea. Moving on to the mains, we tried Caprese Pizza, and although it sounds like a basic dish, this pizza is something to write home about. With fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato and red onion as a topping, the pizza made in their wood-fired oven offered the right amount of crunch and flavours, making us relish every bite. We also tried their Khowsuey, and although the taste was on point, the broth was a tad thick.
Bringing it together
By now we were stuffed and decided to take a stroll around the farm with its director Aaliya Ahuja. “My father, who has bought this farm into several small patches over the decades, had a dream of having his own restaurant and it somehow felt right to turn this dream into reality,” said 22-year-old Ahuja who along with her family members built this restaurant in the pandemic.
Interestingly, they didn’t hire any professional except chefs for Saltt and everything one sees here is a product of their combined efforts. “My father has a long association with a carpenter and he called him over to get a structure. He built a barn-like structure using the inhouse wood within 16 weeks. My mother, who has been in the business of textiles and had a knack for design, took the responsibility to do the interiors of the space and my sister-in-law took the charge of plants that now adorn this restaurant and its surrounding. My brother always wanted to have a petting zoo so we found a space for that and my father has been collecting cars for years so we decided to put them on display here,” adds Aaliya as she walks us through her family-owned Oleander Farms. While the zoo has iguanas, rabbits and hedgehogs, the cars on display feature a Maruti 800, Ambassador, Fiat and Morris 8, which once belonged to MF Hussain.
After a long stroll, we indulged in one of their desserts, Salt Caramel Mousse. The sea salt complements the creamy and rich chocolate mousse very well. The addition of caramel, nougats and strawberry add to the flavour and texture.
The verdict: Saltt is beautiful! It is perfect for a date, as well as a meaningful gathering with your friends and family, while it is ideal for brunch as well as dinner, do catch the sunset while you are here. When it comes to the food and drinks, try their botanical cocktails, Caprese pizza, vegetarian biryani and salt caramel mousse.
Price for two: Rs 2500 without alcohol
Where: Oleander Farms, Karjat
Prior reservation suggested
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