While we’ve had plenty of Indonesian eateries in Sydney, not many of them back up quality eats with a good location, nice décor and decent boozing options. Salt & Palm seems to assembled all these ingredients in a beautiful sandstone cottage at the Broadway end of Glebe Point Road.
While still a relative newcomer, the restaurant, run by daughter Natasya, builds upon a decade of her family's experience running Teras Bali in Walsh Bay. While that restaurant pushed a traditional vibe, Salt & Palm modernises the offering, starting with a funky salmon pink, blonde wood and green fit-out that’s the work of Kreativ Design (the same folks responsible for the look of Pyrmont’s Long Kin).
While it’s super dark inside, you do get a bit of a laid-back Bali-holiday vibe with hanging woven basket lights, pot plants and tropical leaf wallpaper feature walls, encapsulated in their sun, surf and palm tree logo.
With al fresco seating front and rear, there are plenty of spots to kick back and explore their tropical cocktail list.
Far from dated or tacky, this list has some of the best exotic fruity cocktails I’ve tried in recent years, won by Bourbon & Bacon ($21). This easy-drinking cocktail combines bacon fat-washed bourbon with rockmelon, lemon, strawberry puree, thyme and orange into a harmonious drink that really appeals to me even though I'm normally adverse to rockmelon! While it’s served in the usual young coconut, Salt & Palm’s Coconut Mojito ($20) balances the sweetness of white rum and coconut water with bright lime acidity and mint.
Jambi Jive ($18), with Jack Daniels, nectarine, lemon, cinnamon and rosemary, is let down slightly by floury nectarine, which I hope will resolve by itself later in the season. I’ve got no complaints about the Green Mary ($18) that takes on everyone’s favourite tomato juice-based breakfast tipple with banana liqueur longan, lemon, coriander, green chilli and egg white joining the usual Worcestershire sauce and Bombay Sapphire gin, for a unique, island-appropriate version of this classic drink.
Poured at the table, the Genie in the Bottle ($22) is a veritable smoke pit of Substation No. 41 Rum, crème de cassis, orange and Angostura bitters. It’s so hickory chip smoky it begs for a beer chaser, and the leaf-ringed bar is happy to oblige with three taps all pouring local craft brews.
Cheap snacks, like Indonesian corn fritters, Bakwan Jagung ($4/2 pieces), flavoured with spring onions, parsley and garlic, make Salt & Palm easy to enjoy as a bar.
Twice fried Perkedel Kentang ($4/2 pieces) potato patties dipped in egg white are good at soaking up booze, though they need sambal terasi to really sing. Staff are happy to customise the sambal to your preferred heat level, so be sure and let them know if you want things at proper, Indonesian chilli strength.
Having travelled to Amsterdam, I find it hard to pass up the chance to eat rijsttafel – the Dutch term for an Indonesian rice table meal. Salt & Palm give you the opportunity to build your own individual plate, starting with a Nasi Kuning ($10) base. Centred around a mound of beautifully cooked Javanese yellow turmeric rice, this plate gives you urap salad (steamed vegetables with spiced shredded coconut), sambal, fried peanuts and cassava crackers. Then you add on your choice of proteins, like juicy Ayam Goreng Kuning (+$5.50) chook quarters, flavoured with garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander seeds and candlenut, or Telur Balado (+$3.50), a sambal-tossed boiled and fried egg. There’s also a heavily reduced Rendang Sapi (+$5.50). In this dry, Padang-style version of this popular Indonesian and Malay dish, tender strands of beef are cooked in coconut cream with shallots, chilli, tamarind, turmeric leaf, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
You can also eat all of these add-ons as shareable main courses if you don’t like the idea of an individual meal on one plate. Prices here are good, staff are friendly, and, as I already mentioned, it’s exciting to be able to get Indonesian food and a decent drink in the one place.
Salt & Palm
22 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Ph: (02) 8068 7310