Salt Tasting Room in Gastown, Vancouver


Another Friday.

This time Suanne and I wanted to try something that is out of the ordinary. We went to a “restaurant” that is somewhat shy of publicity. You don’t normally read about them but you hear about them by word of mouth.

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The Salt Tasting Room for all its reputation is located in the unlikeliest of all place. It is located in a dark alley called Blood Alley. The alley is lined with garbage bins with some clearly homeless people hanging around. Oh yeah, it is not an alley you would normally go down.

If you are not sure if you got the right alley, look for the upside down salt shaker banner before you venture down it. Really, it is safe but this place can easily give one the creeps.
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That is the alley where the Salt Tasting Room is located. He he he … even Google Streetview happen to capture someone rummaging the garbage bins.

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But right in the middle of the creepy dark alley is one of the most inviting restaurant entrances you will find. It really feels strange.

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The decor in the Salt Tasting Room is simplistic and minimal with exposed brick walls, unfinished concrete floors and simple wooden tables. I would even venture to say it is spartan. Although the ambiance is very unique, this is not a place where you will call it cozy or comfortable.

One thing you want to know before you continue is that the Salt Tasting Room does not have a kitchen. This is very much a meat, cheese and wine place.

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All their offerings are hand written on the large chalkboard at the end of the “restaurant”. Interesting concept. We looked at the chalkboard for the longest time and don’t know most of what is on it. We were clearly lost!

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Our waitress was really great in helping us understand their offerings.

Basically, for $15 you get to choose a combination of three cheeses or meats from their vast array of choices along with three condiments. In addition, you may also opt to have the each of the cheese/meat paired with a flight of wine ($15) or non-alcoholic drinks ($7.50).

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To take the guesswork out of the equation, we opted for the Butcher Plate. The $15 Butcher Plate consists of a selection of 3 meats of their choice along with 3 condiments. Each of the plate were accompanied with a write up of the meats. This might be meaningless to you (it is to us!) but here are what we had from top to bottom:

  • Chorizo Rioja (from Oyama Granville Island) with Quince
  • Smoked Beef Salami (also from Oyama Granville Island) with Cipolinni Onions
  • Toscano Salami (from Moccia’s Granville Island) with Picalilli Relish

With this info, we could actually get this from Granville Island on our own if we want.

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To go with the meats and cheeses are two types of bread and one crispy biscuits.

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The above is the Cipolinni Onions with Smoked Beef Salami. That is how it is eaten. For an Asian, this looks like … too little food but it is quite sufficient for a meal.

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We also ordered another plate called the Best of BC Plate (also $15). It is a mixture of 3 locally produced items and 3 condiments. For this one, we had, from top to bottom:

  • Spicy Wild Boar Salami (from Oyama Granville Island) with Similkameen Apricot Chutney
  • Savoury Moon cheese (from Saltspring Island) with Granny Smith Apples
  • Corned Beef (from Mike Vitow Cultus Lake) with Guiness Mustard.

We like this Best of BC Plate better.

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The Guinness Mustard had a strong flavour and is tangy.

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This is interesting. The Savoury Moon cheese is wild and creamy which works surprisingly well with the simple apple which is sweet and tangy.

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The apricot chutney here was sweet.

You know, the meat (and cheese) itself does not stand out on its own but when paired with the condiments, it brings along an experience of different textures, taste and flavour.

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I had the Best of BC Plate paired with a flight of Wine. Even though I am not a wine person and know very little about wine, the pairings were very good. It brings the best out of the meats and cheeses. Suanne thought that it was way too much wine for me. LOL!

I believe these are all Okanagan wines. The waitress sure does know a lot of their food and wine. She explained what these are, their characteristics, etc but we don’t really know what she was saying. We’ll learn some day what exactly is meant by dry, full body, and what nots. 🙂

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Suanne can’t resist desserts. So we got the Chocolate Tasting Plate ($8) to share. It is a combination of Mousse (smooth and light), Chocolate Ganache Cake (quite dense) and Brownie.

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It is quite pricey eating here as you can see. Think of it, eh? For $70, both of us could actually have a more substantial  meal. He he he … not complaining but wanted to let you know lest you go to the Salt Tasting Room on the account of this post and come out grumbling that it’s so little “food”. LOL!

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Before we left, I went to the washroom and saw a sign that leads underground that says Salt Cellar. I walked down and saw that there are more seatings available here. I have a feeling from the way this place is set up, they keep this section for group functions.

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2 thoughts on “Salt Tasting Room in Gastown, Vancouver

  1. Pingback: Chow Times » Fun With Fromage — by Grayelf
  2. I don’t know about Oyama, but Moccia is often sold out of their delicious salami … damn Sean Heather for buying their whole supply for Salt! In all seriousness, the cured meats at Moccia are incredible and great value – totally worth the trip out to Hastings and Nanaimo.

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