Approaching its ten-year anniversary, Summer Salt is perched atop the historic Elouera Surf Life Saving Club overlooking the stunning Elouera beach in Cronulla.
The restaurant boasts a chic dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, and the tables are arranged so that you can get tremendous views from anywhere in the dining room. Summer Salt excels as a setting for special occasions, and, in addition to its a la carte menu, it offers seasonal degustation menus and an expert selection of wines. Carl Jensen owns and operates Summer Salt, and he is also executive chef, offering lunch and dinner seven days a week. On the first visit, one of the first things to strike you is the friendliness of the staff. Dressed in light blue uniforms, the wait staff embrace the casual, beach atmosphere, even in the restaurant’s refined setting. And this was Carl’s plan from the start.
Carl has over 25 years experience cooking, and he opened his first restaurant, Jensen’s Restaurant in Sylvania, at the age of 27. Even then, he wanted to bring something new to “shire” dining, and he went on to open two restaurants in Cronulla – Bella Costa and the Naked Grape. With Summer Salt, Jensen realised his dream of bringing a city-style restaurant to the shire. The Summer Salt lounge offers a trendy setting for eating tapas and sipping such cocktails as Fool’s Gold, a tropical mix of elderflower syrup, vodka, and beach liqueur. The dinner menu has surprises that would grab the attention of even the most experienced Sydney-siders.
In particular, the entree tasting plate is a knockout – both aesthetically and on the tongue. Utilising seasonal produce, beautifully presented, the plate can feature such dishes as seared scallops with crispy prosciutto and brioche crumbs over cauliflower puree with tempura zucchini flowers; oven-roasted pork belly with apple puree; wagyu beef carpaccio with beetroot, peppered pecorino, horseradish cream, and grissini; pan-fried prawns with goats cheese ravioli, shaved asparagus, and sage-nut butter sauce; and warmed Sydney rock oysters with cheddar custard. Each component is a harmonious bite or two. Entrees focus on seafood, but there’s an entire section of the menu simply labeled “Beef,” as well. The Kobe wagyu strip loin, with a meat marbling score of seven, and the Black Angus eye fillet come with a selection of sides, whether chips with tomato, salt, or paprika, or roasted cauliflower with buffalo mozzarella.
While the menu changes quarterly, some dishes are too beloved to remove. At the fore is the Twice-Cooked Duck Legs, which comes with kumara mash and spiced mandarin glaze. The extensive wine list regularly offers over 20 wines by the glass, and sommelier, Noel Sorrenti, crafts personalised recommendations. Summer Salt aims to be delicious through to the last bite, and the dessert menu won’t disappoint. It continues to blend Western and Eastern flavours in such dishes as Apple Tart Tartan, which comes with apple and cinnamon mousse, apple pate de fruit, clear apple chips, tulle, honey brûlèe dots, and fig and cinnamon ice cream. After a meal at Summer Salt, it’s tempting to stroll along the beach, but the views are nearly as good from your table.