Perched atop ION Orchard on level 55, Salt Grill & Sky Bar by Luke Mangan is no stranger to most. It’s that Australian all-day dining restaurant you see on directional boards in ION Orchard, pointing you toward the ION Sky Concierge Desk on level 4. Once at level 4, walk in on the right aisle of the concierge, and make two right turns – there, you will be greeted by two private and exclusive lifts that shoot you straight up to the clouds.
It was my honour to have met Celebrity Chef-Restaurateur Luke Mangan, the familiar name you see on the glassware of the restaurant. It was surely a starstruck moment. After putting in place a month-long facelift, a relatively warmer and outlook is presented, replete with mood-enhancing light sculptures, together with a swanky new bar on the mezzanine floor, and an exclusive dining area on level 56 – away from the crowd, but still with a perfect panoramic view of the city.
Additionally, the youngest Executive Chef of the Group, Mathew Leighton, also unveils a new spring menu, with retainment of some of the establishment’s signature dishes. If you are up for some Modern Australian fare, with a stunning view, Salt Grill & Sky Bar is revamped for you.
Served to keep us occupied while the star dishes were being prepared was a teeny tiny cup of Coconut Broth with Sydney Spice. While it was as such, it felt a lot more substantial because of its thickness and richness. The combination was akin to Green Curry, in a more toned down and pleasant way. Because it was heavy on the palate, I admit it didn’t quite do its job as an appetiser; I look at it more of a course of soup.
We were served a couple of bread olive oil and dukkah – a concoction of macadamia, cashew, sesame, cumin, coriander and salt. I love that the bread was a little chewy and soft. It was a good bite before the main meal.
(Appetiser) Sashimi of Kingfish ($33++) :: It was my maiden attempt at a kingfish’s sashimi. It is decked with ginger, eschalot and goats feta. I thought it has a very clean and light flavour, elevated and made intense with the bits of goats feta. Very refreshing for a start of the meal. Recommended to be paired with NV Clover Hill Tasmanian Cuvee, Pipers River TAS.
(Appetiser) Baby Vegetables ($31++) :: Even without the honey thyme dressing, the baby vegetables were naturally sweet. This entire course has an interesting mixture of texture, with the smooth skin of baby vegetables, rough mash of goats curd and the crunch from the ginger bread crumbs. Having a carnivorous appetite, I don’t think I would ever order an all-greens dish, and the same applies here. Recommended to be paired with NV Clover Hill Tasmanian Cuvee, Pipers River TAS.
(Appetiser) ‘Glass’ Sydney Crab Omelette ($33++) :: One of the signature items retained on the revamped menu is the crab omelette with enoki mushroom and herb salad in miso mustard broth. Yes to the semi-raw enoki mushroom topped, giving its deeper flavour to the dish both smell and taste-wise, and yes to the crab omelette itself. I didn’t bother about the herb salad though, because parsley was part of the gang, and he stinks. But that was no big issue a I only had to sweep it aside. The broth came across as a little too salty for me, which may make it hard to complete. Recommended to be paired with 2011 Yabby Lake Chardonnay, Mornington VIC.
(Appetiser) Tea-smoked Quail ($31++) :: The most notable and awe-inspiring of the lot has to be the Tea-smoked Quail that comes with almond cream, prunes, grains, grilled shallot and sorrel. Even if you were to dine in the dark, there would not be any chance that you would miss the introduction of this dish – its Earl Grey Tea-smokiness was a near choking experience, but charmingly so. The meat, though tender, was no longer the highlight. It was the impeccable pairing of the slight bitterness from the tea, with the hint of truffle as you go about the meat. It was further spiced up with the crunchy base of grains. A must-order; one that I would go back for. How I wish it was offered as a main course. Recommended to be paired with 2011 Yabby Lake Chardonnay, Mornington VIC.
(Mains – Grill) Australian Wagyu Sirloin, Rangers Valley NSW, 300-days Grain Fed ($74++) :: I was eagerly awaiting the slices of steak to be served, but I was left dissatisfied because of two things. I thought it lacked the slightest bit of chewiness I like for my beef steak. The bites were very straightforward with no depth. Next, I felt that the red wine sauce did not sufficiently lift the flavour of the game. It could just be me though; about half the rest of the table loved it. Recommended to be paired with 2010 Luke Mangan Shiraz by TarraWarra Estate, Yarra Valley VIC.
(Dessert) Luke’s Liquorice Parfait, Lime ($18++) :: Also one of its signatures is this liquorice parfait. All, if not most, at the table agreed that even though we are not exactly fond with liquorice (which is the case for me as well), this dessert was acceptable. Likely because of the lime flavour that helped counterpoised the strong liquorice flavour, I was able to enjoy it pretty well. Recommended to be paired with NV Buller Fine Old Muscat, Ruthergien VIC.
All the items in this article are available in their ala-carte menu (lunch and dinner). Its mains are in the $60++ to $65++ range.
Lunch set menu is also offered on weekdays, 11am – 2pm, with prices ranging from $45++ to $80++, depending on your selection of the menu and the number of courses.
Degustation menu is available for both lunch and dinner, priced at $98++ or $150++.
Check out their website for the menu specifics.
NOTE: Dishes served were in tasting portions.
Dress Code: Smart Casual
What’s worth paying for:
Sashimi of Kingfish.
Address: 2 Orchard Turn, #55 – #56, ION Orchard (lift from level 4 of ION Orchard)
Telephone: 6592 5118 (takes reservations)
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (daily)
This was a media session. Thank you Ivy, Shasha, Cyndiana & the FoodNews team.