Mini Restaurant Review

SeaSalt Mediterranean Kitchen – Bar, Barnes

My friend Sean took Maggie and I out for some mid-week lunch recently (while I was still lady-of-leisure) at the new restaurant ‘Sea Salt’ on White Hart Lane, Barnes. He had travelled over from East Dulwich and completely underestimated how long it would take to get to leafy Barnes, so we didn’t get to the restaurant until nearly 3pm. Unsurprisingly the only other punters were just leaving as we arrived and we were just in time for the lunch menu which was due to finish. Despite this, we were treated like kings and there was no sense of being rushed to finish our meal quickly. A high chair arrived for Maggie and she happily played with her toys and ate her baby food while we savoured a delicious and tasty Mediterranean lunch.

We chose the set Lunch menu which was 2 courses for £10.50, with the idea that we’d share a starter and dessert. To start with we had smoked salmon salad with a zesty lime and orange dressing. Maybe a little too much greenery for the amount of salmon on the plate but otherwise it was perfect, a fresh and refreshing little bite to get the taste buds going.

For the main course, Sean chose seabass fillet served with sautéed vegetables and mash. I had the Tavuk Sis kebap, basically chargrilled chicken skewers with rice and a side salad. The flavours were distinctively Mediterranean and the portions were extremely generous. I did wonder if we had been given extra as we were the last lunchtime customers. We shared a crumbly and delicious baklava for dessert with a side of vanilla ice-cream and a sneaky glass of vino each.

There was a piano in the corner which was just tempting someone to play it. Thankfully I didn’t attempt it, considering my very limited Grade 5 exam pieces repertoire. I do wonder though if someone comes in to play a bit of jazz in the evenings. I think that sort of jazzy cabaret restaurant would work on White Hart Lane, but I just wonder whether this restaurant has the right atmosphere yet to create that laid-back vibe.

It was such a shame to see ‘SeaSalt’ so empty while its neighbour ‘The Orange Pekoe’ was crammed to the gills, as it always is. That, despite the fact that their food is menu is not as extensive or as sumptuous. But it always feels like a treat to go to ‘The Orange Pekoe’, while ‘SeaSalt’ lacks the same ambience. It doesn’t help to have that large plain window at the front of the restaurant so you sit at your table like a poor doggy in the window. But I was still impressed, and really wish it every success. In the words of Arnie (and with a dodgy Californian accent): ‘I’ll be back’.

Example dishes from the menu include: kuzu sis kebab (lamb kebab) which is priced at £9.50, tavuk sis kebab (chicken kebab) at £9.00 and a meze selection (hummous, cacik, babagannus, roasted red pepper) for £5.00. There’s also grilled hellim (£4.50) while for dessert the choice includes baklava at £3.50.

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday: lunch 12 noon – 3:00pm, evening 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturday: lunch 12 noon – 4:00pm, evening 6:00pm – 10.30pm
Sunday: lunch 12 noon – 4:00pm, evening 6:00pm – 9:00pm

5 White Hart Lane, SW13 0PX, 020 8392 1111

20120429-220534.jpg

mini Book Review

Time to get out of the bath, Shirley by John Burningham

20120301-235348.jpg

A delightful little picture book that I picked up at the library today. It is the story of Shirley, lost in a colourful daydream while her mum tries to get her out of the bath. So while her mum chats away in a banal way on the left hand page, Shirley is off on an adventure with her toy duck on the right.

It reminds me of Sendak’s ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, published 15 years earlier, which is a similar story of children shutting out the real world in favour of the adventures that take place in their imaginations. It also makes me wonder where my own little duck disappears to when she’s in the bath, squealing with delight and splashing her hands. Is she off to a magical land of knights on white chargers and fairytale castles? More likely she is squealing to drown out her annoying mum’s version of ‘If you are happy and you know it, splash your hands’ and other watery tunes.

20120301-235221.jpg