Salty Disher

February 28, 2011 · 55 comments

First things first my lovelies.. although the realisation likely has most of us tearing out our hair in horror and tearing around wildly in equal measures, it is almost March. Even if we all stay up until midnight squinting angrily at the clock, we’d still find ourselves writing a 3 where there once was a 2.  So, we’d best embrace it and look for the good things ahead.

Things like an end to the heatwave (please!) currently causing all Perth dwellers to shake our fists at the sky if we have any energy left to do so; Clean Up Australia Day where we can do our bit to clean up our local environment, shaking our fist at those fools who choose to litter; Shrove Tuesday when Christians and Heathens alike can shake pancakes into their mouths for a good cause; and St Patrick’s Day when Christians and Heathens alike can enjoy a refreshing pint of green beer, show off our atrocious Irish accents  and not get bitten by snakes. Also, these days, March is the month of…

The program was released yesterday (a pdf copy may be found here), the twitter account @eatdrinkperth is in the capable hands of Matt from Abstract Gourmet when they’re not busy making transporting food from the table to his mouth, and there is also a Facebook page here. Check it out and get involved, if only to take advantage of the air conditioning that I am sure most of the featured restaurants will offer.

And now back to our scheduled programming, which features eating and drinking in one of Perth’s, uh, more extremely northern suburbs…

Will the day ever come when someone spots their significant other dining with someone they shouldn't be in such a photo? I doubt it, but this lady in red seems hesitant.

Although back in ye olde times it was quite common to determine your surname by your profession, in modern times such synchronicity is remarkable.

Take for instance the New Yorker Urologists Dr David Weiner and Dr Marcus Loo, who at least sound more approachable than their New Mexican colleague Dr Alden Cockburn. Heading closer to home and above the belt, I was delighted to discover recently that a bottleshop (liquor store) near me is run by a Mr Beverage but I don’t think I’ll be visiting Perth optometrist Mr Fist any time soon.

I will however, be looking for any excuse I can to get back up to Geraldton to sample the delights being dished up by the appropriately named Heath Disher, co-owner of Salt Dish with partner Lara Dalton. After spending some years working over east and down south, Heath and Lara have now been running Salt Dish for the past 16 months, and despite continual rave reviews from family members it wasn’t until the last Christmas break that I had a chance to check it out for myself.

Our water bottle, pepper mill, and some salt. In a dish. Ohh, I see what they've done there.

A couple of days before Christmas, I headed into town with my parents and Aunty S, who was also in town for the Christmas break. After taking a seat at a table near the front windows, providing lots of photo-friendly light, we were soon presented with the seemingly ubiquitous interesting, recycled glass bottle of water and some menus. It was just as well we were given menus so promptly, as what followed was a painful 15 minutes of indecision, with all of us changing our minds numerous times before reluctantly settling on one dish each.

Don't get too attached to this menu, as it has recently changed

The menu covers many bases well, ranging from a roast beetroot tart at $17 for the not-so-hungry, up to more generously proteined dishes such as the $30 Tasmanian salmon dish for the piggier patrons.

No surprises what I went for, tucking my curly tail underneath me. Fellow hungry-hungry-hippo Dad went eventually settled on the peppered Scotch sandwich ($25), inbetweeny Aunty S chose the calamari ($22) whilst not-so-hungry Mum chose the beetroot tart.

Roast beetroot eschalot tart, goats curd, pistachio crumble, greens, walnut dressing ($17)

Mum did well to get through her entire tart without any goats curd falling victim to my fork. She reported that the tart itself was a little too oily, but she soon finished off the modestly sized dish and gave it an overall thumbs up despite the oil factor.

Olive crust calamari, harissa mint chickpeas, green onion, aioli ($22)

Aunty S really loved her calamari dish, finding the flavours complex and exciting, and the serving size generous. The promised olive crust on the calamari was very subtle, if there at all (I meant to query this but eventually forgot, probably due to impending Father Christmas excitement), but the squid itself was cooked perfectly and much to our disappointment did not result in any trying-to-hold-a-conversation-whilst-chewing-a-rubber-band hilarity.

Tasmanian salmon, chorizo, grape tomato, peppers, crouton, lime tartare ($30)

I could have eaten this dish all day. The salmon was perfectly cooked, with a super crispy skin and juicy flesh. The chorizo gave lovely spicy depths to the overall flavour, complementing the sweetness of the tomatoes and silky roasted capsicum whilst the warm,crunchy, oily croutons were warm, crunchy and oily in all the good ways. The lime tartare was much lighter than it appeared, presumably due to the lime, but squeezing the lemon wedge generously over the whole lot added necessary acidity to finished it off to perfection. If I had to find a fault, I was left feeling like I had ingested a reasonable amount of oil with the combination of the skin, chorizo and croutons, but the flavours and textures were totally worth it. Plus, it was almost Christmas, so it was probably good preparation for the impending calorie overload.

Peppered scotch sandwich, Balsamic onions, Provolone, mustard mayo, fresh chips ($25)

I was really glad that Dad settled on the steak sandwich as his lunch choice, as there was obviously no way I was going to order it and I’d heard from my brother-in-law that it was high up there in the steak stakes. Happily, it lived up to the hype. Every last morsel was polished off, with no chewy bits left discarded on the plate (Dad is as picky as I am with bits of fat/gristle in meat, even when they’re cunningly hidden between pieces of bread). Despite his enjoyment of the dish, he took a little break half way through proceedings to ask if I wanted to take a photo of the sandwich innards before he started the second half. Nice one, Dad.

I was a fan of the number of chips served with the sandwich. Just enough to add some salty crispness, without tempting you to devote too much stomach space to the side dish. The siren call of the hot, crunchy chip has been the downfall of many a seasoned eater.

I think it’s pretty clear that we were really happy with the overall food experience here, and it is obvious that thought has gone into the construction of the menu whilst attention to detail and quality produce have gone into the dishes themselves. The service was great too – prompt and friendly and easy. I was horribly disappointed though when, as we were paying, I asked what time they opened for breakfast in the morning and was told they were closing for the Christmas period that afternoon and would not be opening again until the new year. Breakfast denied.

I did get to eat here again recently, though vicariously, through a friend who was visiting Geraldton very briefly for business and asked for food recommendations. He and his travelling companion were so taken by the menu that they ordered four main dishes between the two of them, and impressively managed to get through the lot. My family and I are well known for over-ordering (to the point of being given extra cutlery as people think there must surely be more of us eating than there actually is), so I could hardly believe we had been out-ordered.

I need to get back here to rectify this. Family honour is at stake.

Salt Dish

Address:                  35 Marine Terrace, Geraldton
Phone:                      08 9964 6030
Opening Hours: Tues – Sat: breakfast 7:30-11:30am; lunch 11:30-2:30pm; cake til 4pm
Service:                    Dine in, bookings not taken
We paid:                   $27/head for mains and soft drinks
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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Meggy February 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm

That beetroot tart looks devine.
I am sure my computer screen is annoyed at my constant consideration to lick it.
I love overordering. i am a habitutal overordered. I have fear of missing out and always make sure my close friends and family order things that I too want to ensure i can have bits of everything.

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Conor February 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Better to order too much than not enough, say I! It can just get a little silly when you’re surrounded by fellow overorderers, and you spur each other on to levels that exceed the ability of your table to hold them.

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Meggy March 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm

My problem is overordering combined with my inability to let food go to waste! Always surrounded by fellow overorderers who dont hold such inability, ensuring i eat and eat and eat and eat *no longer wonders why i am so overweight!*

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erin February 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Better an optomotrist called Mr Fist than a proctologist with the same name…

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Conor February 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Oh Erin, we were all thinking it but you said it. Bless..

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erin February 28, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Did you know I even rushed to make the comment before I read the rest of the post, just in case someone else got in there before me?

I am full of class.

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Conor March 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Class up to the eyeballs. No, even more than that. Class spilling out of your eyesballs, onto the ground, forming a big classy puddle around you.

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erin March 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm

That’s gross, Conor.

How did the country music quest end up, btw? :)

MaryMoh February 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm

It’s interesting to know there’s Eat Drink Perth. I can’t imagine if we have it here Eat Drink Scotland. I think Scotland will turn upside down. People are already eating and drinking so much. Worse, it’s almost impossible to sweat being so cold most days of the year, unless you go for sports. We need some sun and heat from your place :D Love all the dishes there especially the Tasmanian salmon…mmm.
MaryMoh´s last blog post ..Super Easy Curry Fish Fillet

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Conor March 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Mary, I would so dearly love to send you some of our sun and heat. And maybe some of our sweat, if necessary. We’ve been too greedy with it, it’s sending us all mad. The whole city is turning nuts.

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mademoiselle délicieuse February 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I once knew someone with the family name of Cockburn – they always insisted it was pronounced “co-burn”. Ahem.

Salt Dish as a name is at least a plausible name. A recent trip up the NSW coast saw us passing by a “Salty Dog Fish & Chips”!
mademoiselle délicieuse´s last blog post ..Exceeding expectations at Sakana-Ya

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Conor March 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Hehe, indeed. Can’t think of that without thinking of Hyacinth Bucket (boo-kay) on Keeping Up Appearances. Oh Hyacinth, you annoying old bat.

Also, you surely can’t drive past Salty Dog Fish & Chips without saying a nice loud “YARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!” out the window, right?

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5 Star Foodie February 28, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Sounds like everyone found a great dish here, the salmon looks terrific and I really like the concept of the beetroot tart!

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Conor March 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

The beetroot tart is really such a simple dish, but the combination of those ingredients works so well you don’t need to overcomplicate things :)

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Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz March 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

Sounds like a great find for sure. So hard to find a place that cooks fish and calamari perfectly.

I cannot believe Erin made that Mr Fist comment lol.

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erin March 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm

You better believe it! ;)

I <3 your blog btw, Evelyne. Always so tasty looking.

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Conor March 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Such a great find. I’m so glad to have a reliably excellent place to go to when I’m up north seeing the family.

HA! If you knew Erin you would totally believe it :D

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erin March 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I’m choosing to take that as a compliment, Conor.

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Conor March 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm

As you should.

Do you have a towel? I’ve got class all over my shoes.

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erin March 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Hahaha sorry, can’t help you there. Wear my spilled class with pride, it’s a badge of honour.

Hannah March 1, 2011 at 10:46 am

Family dinners are just the bestest :) There’s no way goats curd would ever escape my pilfering fork though! (The pilfering fork is, of course, cousin to the pocket spoon of your previous post.)

I think Canberra must be the last capital city to not have its own food event. LAME.
Hannah´s last blog post ..CSN Giveaway For Some and Smoothies For All

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Conor March 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Especially when my Dad is involved! With Dad around, you can always order entree, and main, and dessert, and maybe even something in between, and know that he’ll back you up by doing the same :D

Ooooh yes you’re right. You have to be careful not to keep your pilfering fork and pocket spoon in the same pocket though, as they will clang together and give away your impending pilfering.

Also, OMG YOU ARE AWESOME. My parcel filled my heart with joy! Expect a gushing email soon xxx

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Hannah March 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Absolutely! Actually, my dad, mum, and brother are all equal-oppotunity supporters of three-course meals :)

Squee! So it arrived okay? I shall be forever cranky at the postal system for taking so long that I had to ruin the surprise… I was so looking forward to it coming out of the blue, but my anxiety got the better of me :) Can’t wait for the email! xo
Hannah´s last blog post ..CSN Giveaway For Some and Smoothies For All

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella March 2, 2011 at 7:40 am

Having been a recent visitor to Perth, your Perth reviews take on another dimension Conor! :D And hehe the family honour is at stake and it is up to you!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella´s last blog post ..Adriano Zumbo- Manly

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Conor March 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Next time you’ll have to hit up some regional WA areas too, Lorraine! :)

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella March 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I did my lovely, I did! ;)

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Conor March 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Ooooh where did you go? I don’t remember seeing any regional writeups? Are they secret? I promise I won’t tell anyone!

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Adrian March 2, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Steak sandwich – yum.

Nice to know your Dad knows the drill when it comes to photographing food.

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Conor March 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Good old Dad, he knows the score!

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Maria @ Scandifoodie March 3, 2011 at 2:35 am

The selection of dishes looks interesting, I’d love to try that beetroot tart!
Maria @ Scandifoodie´s last blog post ..Shrove Tuesday buns with almond butter and berry ricotta

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Conor March 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I think it’s a really good menu, Maria. It has recently changed too, so I’d best get back up there soon :)

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Trix March 3, 2011 at 4:49 am

With a name like Heath Disher, clearly the man can do no culinary wrong!

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Conor March 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I know! If only we all had such informative names.

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Narissa alford March 4, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I am a geraldton local and am a frequent guest at the salt dish. Great service, great atmosphere and amazing food. Just what geraldton has been waiting for! As soon as my meal is finished I am planning my next! Simply the best! Mmmm..

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Conor March 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Hi Narissa, good to hear from a local and glad you enjoy it there as much as I did! I don’t get up to Gero as much as I’d like to these days, but think I will have to include a Salt Dish visit every time now. In the meantime, please eat an extra meal for me each time you go there?

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Jackie Gill March 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm

My partner and I run a boutique hotel in Geraldton and usually like to have a chat with our guests about where to go when they wander down town – our first recommendation is Saltdish, our second recommendation is Saltdish. We do offer brekky but I find myself saying “I think you’d rather go see Lara and Heath”….and as for lunch. Bring it on.

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Conor March 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Hi Jackie, thanks for you comment. I am still upset I haven’t been able to have breakfast there yet. Next time, fingers crossed! It must be good for you to have somewhere you can unreservedly recommend to your guests :)

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Agnes March 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm

You have a curly tail? I’m pretty sure that’s something you haven’t announced on the blog yet. You could have that surgically removed, y’know. ;)

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Conor March 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I’m waiting for the right moment to bring it out. I guess I should do it while the weather is still conducive to tail showing… more likely to want to keep it wrapped up in winter you know!

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ylenate March 6, 2011 at 9:16 pm

My family + friends are constantly complaining about the Perth heat wave, I would just love some of it to come my way! Great review and enjoy Eat Drink Perth – I will have to live vicariously through Perth foodie bloggers.

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Conor March 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Thanks! The whinging and moaning has abated somewhat, as the nights have at least been cooler lately and the days not so horrendously hot. Being able to get to sleep at night makes a big difference to everyone’s moods!

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pierre March 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm

hi conor
i see you have a beautiful weather
here it is starting to be spring (cross fingers) !
i love the frist dish with the ecahlot tart loks scrumptious to me

Have a good one !!Pierre
pierre´s last blog post ..Sous des flammèches de bricks- une panacotta artichaut-mendiant

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Conor March 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Hi Pierre! Yes, still very summery here despite it officially being Autumn now. Glad that you are seeing some spring come your way :)

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Cakelaw March 7, 2011 at 10:26 am

That steak sandwich may be big – but I wanna take it on – it looks fabulous!
Cakelaw´s last blog post ..Knife Skills at William Angliss

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Conor March 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I’m sure you could beat that baby!

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Ellie (Almost Bourdain) March 8, 2011 at 9:44 am

Food looks great especially the juicy steak sandwich.
Ellie (Almost Bourdain)´s last blog post ..Thomas Kellers Macaroni and Cheese

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Conor March 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Every last speck was polished off so it must have been alright :)

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Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls March 9, 2011 at 4:52 am

That salmon looks divine!!!

Great blog; happy I found you!

Mary xx
Delightful Bitefuls
Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls´s last blog post ..Upside Down Banana Toffee Cake

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Conor March 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm

It was a glorious dish Mary. Thanks so much, glad to have you stop by :)

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Adrian @ Food Rehab March 9, 2011 at 10:43 am

Ah yes, St Patricks Day- any excuse to drink beer on a weekday and yes, pancakes on Shrove Tues. March is such a foodie month which includes the Melb Food and Wine Fest. LOvin the look of that salmon- crisp skin…mmmm

My number one rule- NO diets!!!!!
Adrian @ Food Rehab´s last blog post ..Greenhouse- Sydney- A Recyclable Pop-up Bar &amp Restaurant by Joost Bakker

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Conor March 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Goodness me, it’s here next week. Best get our drinking hats at the ready! Our green drinking hats, of course.

Hehe, good rule :D

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Karen Harris March 9, 2011 at 9:57 pm

It is Denver restaurant week here and I procrastinated making reservations so no food for us! Damn!!! Thanks for giving me a little good food to look at as this will be as close as I get this week.
Karen Harris´s last blog post ..Tin Cups and Tapioca

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Conor March 11, 2011 at 9:01 am

Oh no, that sounds just like something I would do, Karen! Could you maybe hang around the restaurants thieving scraps off the tables?

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tasteofbeirut March 10, 2011 at 10:06 am

Hello!
I like this place, modern airy, not cluttered. Food looks good, especially that salmon and the meat sandwich and chips.

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Conor March 11, 2011 at 9:02 am

Hello hello! Good observations, it felt like that too despite being pretty small inside. The salmon, oh goodness it was good.

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