2023 UPDATE: The crew at La Salut is now serving up a great-value $50 'Del Dia' (fixed price) lunch every Saturday and Sunday. For a fifty, you get a three-course meal and a vermouth. The menu changes every week, but the price stays the same.
If you didn't know already, this budget dining experience comes with its very own fascinating origin story. Spain's 'Menu Del Dia' translates directly to 'fixed-price lunch', and comes from a mandate that existed in Spanish law from the 1960s to early 2000s. This multi-course menu allowed people to dine at some of Spain's best and most exclusive restaurants without breaking the bank, effectively ensuring that everyone got the chance to eat well.
“You can go to Michelin-starred restaurants and get a sick feed for a good price," says La Salut's executive chef Scott McComas-Williams. "It’s such a great way to dine at lunch; we used to do it all the time when I worked in Barcelona and Madrid.”
La Salut's fifty buck lunch is for walk-ins only and available each weekend day from 12pm until sold out – it's first in, best dressed. To stay up to date with each week’s Del Dia menu, follow La Salut on Instagram.
Read on for our original 2021 review of La Salut.
The folks that brought us Love, Tilly Devine, Ragazzi and Dear Sainte Èloise have set the standard pretty darn high in terms of Sydney wine bars (and the snacks aren't bad either). Their latest venture is a Catalan-inspired watering hole that isn't taking itself too seriously.
La Salut is a joint venture between the Love Tilly Group and newly launched hospitality and accommodation group the people_ (helmed by Paul Schulte and Andrew Taylor). It aims to be a little piece of Catalonia in the heart of Redfern, with all the colour and vibrancy that comes along with it. The 40-seat venue features blushing earthy tones and polished concrete, with outdoor dining along Walker Street.
Waiters will encourage you to start with a tipple from the extensive range of vermouths, and when in Rome (or Catalonia, as it were) it's not a bad way to kick off. Here, the fortified vino comes poured over ice, with three anchovy-stuffed olives and a little bottle of sparkling water, so you can choose your own adventure.
While La Salut is, for all intents and purposes, a wine bar – there's even an adjoining bottle shop where the old pokies room was – make sure you come hungry. The former sports bar corner of the Norfolk Hotel cleverly utilises the tiny space by churning out brilliantly simple, little dishes that largely come out of a tin. But don't feel shortchanged – Europe, and more recently Sydney at large has come to recognise that some of the best things in life need fewer flourishes and more can openers, such as a serving of smoked mussels paired with a handful of salted crisps, dusted with paprika. Sure, it may seem on paper a deceptively small number of humble ingredients borne of a tin or a packet, but the goal at La Salut is less about gorging and more about grazing; a fuss-free evening enjoying a few quality snacks while you savour a glass (or bottle). One could easily get lost in a plate of jamón ibérico, a dry-aged Spanish-style pork leg but if you want a quasi-religious experience, opt for the lesser-known paletilla iberico, a harder working shoulder cut that melts mere moments after it hits the tongue.
However, that's not to say every dish is so restrained. Take, for instance, the pincho of hangar steak with slices of chicken liver paired with a herbal and sweet Olorose sherry jus. It's served on a dainty bed of mashed potato so buttery, it cleverly balances this lean, slightly dry cut of beef. Charred octopus with sobrassada is rich with umami punch, though the choice of the rendered mildly spiced salami paste is perhaps not the textural choice all would have gone with when a little crunch would go a long way. The execution of the grilled octopus, however, is flawless and goes down easy with a glass of chilled, savoury Adelaide Hills gamay.
This neighbourhood bar fills a void in Sydney's Spanish dining arena, and much like that siesta-loving nation, it's wise to embrace life at a slower tempo while you're here. If you manage to score a table, hold onto it for as long as you can. Eat, drink, be merry and drink some more. This isn't an experience to rush but one to be savoured over good chats and good times.