There are few positive things about the passing of summer.
Slightly-improved TV, the absence of flip-flops and ungodly exposed male feet, but best of all, the arrival of new seasonal menus.
We’re not suggesting you should be sweating over cauldrons of beef in Guinness during August, but some cold weather dishes feel like coming home to a massive cuddle.
With this in mind, wearing proper shoes and a sensible jumper, it was time for a return visit to the absolutely spiffing Salt Room.
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Last time we ate under blue skies on the terrace but this time we dined in the immaculately-lit restaurant, a place so elegant and stylish I began to question my sensible jumper.
The new autumn additions to the menu are numerous but we began with an established favourite in the form of their much-vaunted bread selection – I don’t think there will ever be a time when I don’t plaster their amazing sourdough bread with the smoked mackerel and seaweed butter.
It was all change for us on the starters, with two new plates – a reassuringly oily Mackerel, which was a little saltier than my dining partner would have chosen, and a life-affirming, utterly glorious octopus with lentils, chorizo and red wine.
The cephalopod and chorizo were perfect bedfellows in both bite and taste, and the sauce had an element of the light smokiness of The Salt Room’s highly regarded South Coast Fish Soup.
The dish was hearty but not unsophisticated, unlike me, who mopped up the amazing sauce with the remaining bread, and, refreshingly, was congratulated by the waiter for doing so.
Two more new autumn mains followed: a great fillet of halibut which my dear old chum said was improved rather than overpowered by a lemongrass bisque, and a beautifully simple seaweed and salt-baked whole bream.
The bream was gently flavoured by salt and seaweed, and was just a quick squeeze of chargrilled lemon away from being what Anthony Bourdain once described as ‘a clean, three-ingredient high’.
Blackberry Pavlova and Chocolate Mousse were both two good, pretty puddings.
The former was notable for a delicate hibiscus sorbet, while the latter took a less-subtle approach with honeycomb and heavenly toasted marshmallow ice cream.
The dog days of summertime might be gone for a while but a few more autumn menus as good as The Salt Room might provide something to look forward to as you as you reach for your long johns!
The Salt Room, 106 Kings Road, Brighton