Gals and Gents, I present to you the newest addition to LKF’s restaurant scene: Sal Curioso! As you enter the restaurant and climb up the stairs from Glenealy Street, the delicious smell wafting from the kitchen is irresistible. Think of it as a bright orange carrot, and you are most definitely the horse – watch those steps, you might very well trip as you’re rushing up them!
Sal Curioso is the second restaurant by Woolly Pig Concepts, which also opened Madame Sixty Ate. The concept is based on a fictitious gourmet personality, Sal, who travels (curiously) around the globe, his main motivation: food! He must have settled in Latin America, as the restaurant offers up dishes predominately (but not exclusively) inspired by Latin American cuisine, with a twist! There have been no comments on Open Rice, no blog posts to research beforehand – as far as I know, this is the first! And so, we went to this restaurant with zero knowledge, our excitement levels high and our taste buds excited.
As you enter the restaurant, you are immediately greeted by the cocktail bar to your right, and the large open kitchen to your left. Similarly to Madame Sixty Ate, you have a completely open view of the inner workings of the kitchen, and it feels like an intimate experience. The interior space feels open, well laid out, the tables are well-spaced (I hate eating elbow to elbow with the someone at the neighboring table). The scene is set, the diner is comfortable and ready for the opening act.
The menu was designed by Chef Director Chris Woodyard, also CD at Madame Sixty Ate, and ex-culinary director of the W Hotel Hong Kong. When I booked the table, I was informed that the menu is meant for sharing, but seeing as it was a date night, more people was not an option – we would take our chances. The menu is partitioned into starters, the ‘cor menu’ (heart of the menu), Parrilla items (from the grill), sides, cheeses and desserts. For many of the dishes you are given the option of ordering a small or large serving. We wanted a little bit of everything, and you will find that even if you go as a couple, this menu works just as well for sharing between two as it does for four or more.
♥ STARTERS ♥
Small Plate Nachos – house corn crisps with avocado mousse, goat’s cheese, tomato relish and cilantro salsa $45
The first item on the menu: it sounded so appetizing that it had to be done, and what we were served was deconstructed, unconventional and surprising, and yet so satisfying and moreish! I would have to say that these are the most original nachos out there – throw out the nacho-corn chips, the salsa, the guacamole and the sour cream, add house made pork/corn puffs that look like bar snacks and taste like crackling, a smooth mousse of avocado and cheese, and (I must say) wonderful tomato and red pepper salsa – and this is Sal Curioso’s version of nachos. We were ready for more!
Albondigas – saltbush lamb meatballs on walnut braised chickpeas with shaved fois gras $55