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The Food Review: Rock Salt

Rock Salt has become a statement restaurant for students and locals alike through its Indo-Chinese Cuisine. Bea gives her opinion on the revered restaurant in her review.

By Bea Learmouth, 2nd Year Politics and Russian

The Croft Magazine// Rock Salt has become an unavoidable staple of Cotham Hill as an eatery that offers both Indian and Chinese dishes. The small but evidently packed restaurant seems to offer a variety of options. The question we're left with - can it do it all successfully?

Eating well and staying sophisticated without having to take out a mortgage often seems an unfeasible task in Bristol. Enter Rock Salt, which not only manages to do one, but excels at both. Already a well-established favourite of locals and students alike, it’s not often you’ll be able to get a table without pre-booking. Its popularity always ensures a bustling but relaxed atmosphere which will leave you blissfully unaware of your worries and work while tucking into all its delectable delights.

If you couldn’t already tell, I absolutely loved my visit to Rock Salt. When I first heard it was a Chinese and Indian fusion, I found it hard to believe how that could possibly work as they are two vastly different cuisines, but, spoiler alert, it does. They keep both cuisines separate on the menu but you are still able to mix and match if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous. Having now been three times since the beginning of the year, I have tried both the Indian and Chinese parts of the menu. This review focuses on my recent visit where I opted for Chinese. However, I can also vouch for the quality of the Indian food they serve here.

Having pre-booked online, my party of four was warmly welcomed in by staff and seated at a table near the window overlooking passers-by on Cotham Hill. Being a fusion between Indian and Chinese, the interior is not typical of a Chinese or Indian restaurant but instead has its own  Bristol-esque design by displaying graffiti on the wall and boasting a plethora of plants and colourful cushions. We originally planned on getting cocktails thinking they were £5 for students, but we were disappointed to find it was only the negroni which was £5! Not being big fans of a negroni, as many students aren’t, we ended up not getting a cocktail. If you are a big fan of negronis then this is definitely the place for you, however I think student deals on the other cocktails would definitely be more popular!

For my starter, I decided on the ‘Cauliflower Manchurian’. I knew this was risky and would either be tasteless and boring or completely delicious, and luckily, it was the latter. The cauliflower was beautifully seasoned in ginger, garlic and soy sauce with a crispy coating, original without being overly pretentious. My friend’s ‘Malai Broccoli’ was another risk that was, unfortunately, relatively lacking on flavour; I was silently grateful I didn’t order the broccoli myself.

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For my main course, I opted for the ‘Chicken Noodles’ which I actually had on my first visit to Rock Salt and loved so much I just had to get them again. This is where the prices are really excellent. You get an absolutely huge portion for only £7, and although a seemingly simple dish, the flavour is just not something most would be able to replicate at home. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and savoury and is packed with lots of veggies and chicken. It would be worthwhile just coming to Rock Salt for the noodles, you really don’t need much else. Too many restaurants are overly ambitious and try too hard to make their dishes stand out, Rock Salt’s are the perfect example that sometimes simple is best.

With my bill totalling £14, I felt relaxed and fulfilled without the guilt of having spent far more than I should have. Its location on Cotham Hill puts it up against tough competition such as Pasta Loco and Bravas. Both these restaurants are great, but slightly outside most students’ budgets. So next time you’re on Cotham Hill, pop into Rock Salt and give it a try - you won’t regret it.

Featured Image: Bea Learmouth

What are your thoughts on Rock Salt? Let us know!