9th March 2019 – (Hong Kong) We had a recent bad dining experience at a fusion Indian restaurant called BLACKSALT hidden at the cul-de-sac of Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun. The small eatery is run by Chef Taran Chadha and his wife Sheila who offer comfort modern Indian food to the discerning diners. We decided to give it a try after reading many good reviews on the restaurant as the chef only uses natural ingredients and almost everything offered (except the bread) is gluten-free.
We booked a table at around 9pm for two people and when we arrived, we were offered a high bar table on the tiny terrace outside the restaurant, tightly squeezed between two tables full of diners. We literally only had 1 inch space in between the tables. It was obvious that the restaurant was trying to maximise revenue by placing more tables as this is common in Hong Kong but we do think that restaurants need to strike a balance by taking into consideration the total dining experience for customers who pay a premium for food. Moreover, we spotted additional dining tables were placed on the vacant terrace of the unoccupied neighbouring premises.
We are not uncertain if Black Salt has applied to the relevant authorities to secure Outdoor Seating Accommodation (OSA) licence to use their open area for alfresco dining. Applicants must meet several criteria in order to secure a licence, including hygiene, right of land use, planning, building safety, fire safety, traffic and environment.
Our bar table was wobbly and despite the fact that we complained to the waitress about the problem, she merely slipped some kind of a shim under one of the tables as the restaurant was full. The table continued to sway sideways throughout our evening even though it was secured.
The food menu comprises a variety of Indian fusion ‘short plates’ designed for sharing and many vegan/vegetarian dishes. We proceeded to order some Kathmandu Meatballs (HK$130-$145), ‘Petit Poulet Tikki Masala’ (HK$240) and cauliflower couscous as side dish. We also ordered two glasses of Charles Du Roy Brut sparkling wine at HK$125 each (HK$650 per bottle). An online check with the local suppliers shows the retail price of the sparking white wine at approximately HK$225 – HK$264 only.
We were served two glasses of tap water which tasted unpleasant and fishy before the waitress duly replaced. The sparking wine we ordered was also unappealingly bland.
The Kathmandu Meatballs served were actually dumplings cooked without any tint of spiciness. Petit Poulet Tikki Masala, a chicken Masala dish was the anti-climax of the evening as it was dry and extremely salty. We were also served with bread of which we didn’t order but it was subsequently taken off the bill. The only decent dish was the cauliflower couscous.
Despite numerous good reviews on the restaurant, we do not think we would go back to Black Salt in the near future due to its mediocre food quality, uncomfortable sittings, bad service and overpriced drinks.
Value for money : 2/5
Taste : 2/5
Ambience : 1/5
Service : 2/5
Address : Fuk Sau Ln, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
G/F, Western District
Reservations : +852 37021237