I was in the mood for tapas and decided to drop by Salt Wine Bar one Friday evening with Mike, Chris and Jo. Located on Ossington, just South of Dundas, Salt Wine Bar is in the middle of a restaurant hot spot.
The place was busy on a Friday evening, especially at the bar, and had a cozy/romantic atmosphere. I had heard a lot about their Bacon Caesar and talked it up to Chris, who loves Caesars. Unfortunately it was already sold out for the evening and it was only 8:30!
The menu is quite extensive featuring Spanish-inspired tapas. With so many appetizing options, we had trouble narrowing it down. We started off with the Spanish Charcuteria Board – a selection of authentic cured meats imported from Spain ($12). The board came three types of meat – spicy chorizo, chorizo and Serrano. It was a nice start to the meal but nothing really stood out.
We also ordered the Manchego Crostini – Jamon Serrano, figs, balsamic and basil ($10) to start off the meal. A bit of sweetness from the figs, saltiness from the Serrano and sourness from the balsamic was the perfect combination of flavours. This dish usually comes with 3 crostini’s but we added an extra one since we had four people.
Next up was the Itsumo Tuna Tartar – avocado puree, citrus soy and taro chips ($13) which was fresh and seasoned well. Being a big fan of avocado, I really enjoyed the layer of avocado puree topping the tartar. I loved that it came with a side of taro chips which was a nice change from toasted bread which is typically provided with tartar. A good tartar, but similar to the charcuterie board, I didn’t think it was anything special.
I was in a snacky mood and ordered the Yukon Gold Frites – with truffle aioli ($6). The frites were of the thicker variety and while they tasted great, my favourite part was their out-of-this-world truffle aioli. Delicious!
For something on the meaty side, we decided to order the Smoked Oxtail – potato puree, horseradish cream and oxtail broth ($13). Unlike the rest of the tapas dishes we ordered, this felt more like an entrée. There was a generous amount of tender oxtail sitting on top of mashed potatoes in a little bit of broth. This turned out to be the boys’ favourite dish of the evening.
I had to order the Dish Duel featured dish, the Iberico Bacon – poached egg, smoked tomato jam and hollandaise ($11). After trying it, I could definitely see why Salt Wine Bar decided on this dish, which was a great take on an eggs benny. I loved the crisp bacon and the smoked tomato jam was a nice addition. The dish was just a little difficult to share amongst four people…mainly because we all were left wanting more!
This was initially all we had ordered but since we were still hungry, we decided to also order the Grilled Spanish Octopus – new potatoes, lemon and smoked paprika salt ($14). This dish was a lot smaller than we had all expected, arriving with four or five small slices of octopus. Despite the small portion, the octopus was incredibly tender and nicely seasoned. Oh, and the crispy potatoes it came with were really tasty… too bad there wasn’t very many of them.
After the octopus, it was time for dessert. When I saw the Vanilla Bean Churros – with cinnamon sugar and dulce de leche ($8) on the menu, I knew we had to order it. It came with three small delicious churros. A little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The best part was the side of dulce de leche the churros came with. The churros tasted incredible dipped in it. A big hit!
Since a couple of the desserts sounded appealing, we decided on a second dessert, the Mocha Cake – with caramel ganache, brittle and pistachio ice cream ($8). Similar to a molten lava cake, the cake had a gooey center. With a little bit of crunch from the brittle and coolness from the creamy pistachio ice cream, the mocha cake was a nice ending to our meal. But if you only have room for one dessert, I’d recommend the churros.
Overall, we had a nice experience at Salt Wine Bar. The portions are on the small side so you won’t leave stuffed… but expect to leave with your wallet feeling a little lighter.
At a glance:
• Serving up tasty Spanish-inspired tapas
• Small portions, prices on the high side
• Great selection of cocktails
• Cozy and romantic atmosphere
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars