The 1,000-Rupee challenge
How far can Rs 1,000 go for a hearty lunch in SoBo? Turns out you could feed a small army if you head to Rock Salt in Girgaon. With its yum Chinese vegetarian fare, good service and competitive rates, it's a far cry from cheap imitations all over the city
Rock Salt boasts of an enviable pin code, fronting the Arabian Sea (Girgaon, Chowpatty), in the Wilson College lane. Given the address, we expected to have to loosen our purse strings. When we Google-d, it turned out to be the contrary —a budget Chinese eatery. Immediately, visions of roadside Chinese eateries with tacky plastic chairs emerged.
But when we actually stepped into Rock Salt, a pleasant surprise greeted us. Despite the Chinese Pagoda logo and inspired menu, there was hardly any Chinese influence amid its clean and comfortable interiors; save for two faux-bamboo vases. High chairs allowed for 11 people to be seated. The spotted granite counter tops for tables, shaded tiles and yellow lighting — reflected off the mirrors; giving it a rich feel, or a gaudy appearance, depending on your taste. Having opened less than a fortnight ago, Rock Salt currently delivers within 1 km range, but the courteous staff informed us of their plans of (at least) doubling that radius, within the month.
The menu displayed flat, tax-inclusive rates: starters (`70), noodles (`90), soups (`70), main course (`100), rice (`90), wraps (`80), combos (`170), coffees (`75), cold drinks (`25) and one dessert, Chocolate Mousse (`70). It also offers many items for Jain preparations, at no extra cost.
We began with Spring Rolls (`70), which arrived in 10 minutes, with a variety of sauces. Stuffed with healthy vegetables, it was served on an eco-friendly plate. We only wish the chef had gone easy on the oil. Next, we decided to test them on speed and packaging, and ordered a take-away. We opted for Golden Fried Baby Corn (`70), Szechuan Noodles (`90), Sweet Corn Soup, Chilly Coriander Soup (both `70), Szechuan Gravy and the Manchurian Gravy (`100), Vegetable Fried Rice, Burnt Garlic Rice (both `90), Mushroom Wrap (`80), and one combo consisting of Ginger Spicy Paneer starters, Vegetable Fried Rice, and Sweet and Sour Gravy (`170). The entire order, together with the Spring Rolls cost us `1,000.
As we waited, we requested the Wi-Fi password to surf the free Internet. 35 minutes later, our order was ready: neatly packaged in branded plastic and cardboard containers.
A 30-minute ride later, there were no food spills and the food was warm and fresh. Rock Salt didn’t skimp on the sauces and three different types
of sauces came packaged inimpressive quantities.
The Golden Fried Baby Corn was a bit soggy, but we attributed that to our errant choice. Both soups were appetising, but the Chilly Coriander won hands down. The Vegetable Fried Rice and the Burnt Garlic Rice made for a filling and delicious base. The rice had added bite, yet the garlic didn’t overpower the other diced vegetables.
The main course was mildly spiced-yet-flavourful, such that the different ingredients could be appreciated individually within the gravy.
The mushroom wrap came encased in a thick maida paratha with a generous helping of assorted vegetables.
The staff suggested that the combo meal would suffice one adult, but an adult and a child could easily enjoy this meal together. While we would have liked to end the meal with Chocolate Mousse, it was unavailable that day. The portions were plentiful, and our order fed a family of four adults (albeit those with average appetites) and one child.
AT Metro Motors Lane, near Anokhi, Girgaon.
Rock Salt didn’t know we were there. The GUIDE reviews anonymously and pays for meals