Sea.Fire.Salt. Desaru Coast
Words: Patricia Podorsek
Photos: Monica Tindall
The opportunity to enjoy a meal near the water is one of the best things about a trip to the beach. It makes me happy to catch the play of the waves on the sand while having a salad with a friend. Or to see the glitter of sunlight on the water over an afternoon cocktail. Or to hear the crash of surf pounding the shore behind a plate of grilled seafood and a glass of rose. All of these pleasures can be found at the seaside bar, and grill tucked deep in the Anantara Desaru Coast Resort and Villas. Sea.Fire.Salt. and its companion, Infinity Bar, offer elegant dining and drinks in a breezy space just metres from the ocean.
Dinner at Sea.Fire.Salt. begins with fresh rolls and homemade tapenade that threads hints of lemon and garlic into the spread without undermining the centrality of the olives. We all know that salty foods such as this generate a mighty thirst, especially on a warm evening. So we accept the server’s recommendation for a rosé to accompany our dinner. The 2018 AIX Rosé opens with a fresh and fragrant bouquet and mellows into summery watermelon and raspberries, a perfect complement to the range of seafood items on the menu.
More fruity gems arrive with the Mango and Papaya Salad (RM55), a layered arc built from stacks of avocado, rucola and flash-fried prawns. Everything about this salad speaks fresh. All the fruits are creamy in texture, their natural sweetness amplified by a little Thai sweet chilli sauce. Their smoothness is offset by the crisp nature of the prawns and the greens. This is a well-balanced plate all around.
Moving from fruity to zesty, the Gambas Al Ajillo (RM65) bathes corkscrew prawns in a garlicky tomato sauce that bears a kiss of smoked paprika. Toasty bread helps to mop up it all up and return the plate (nearly) clean to the kitchen.
As a grill, Sea.Fire.Salt. offers a tempting variety of steaks, but the high tide of the evening draws us to the Grilled Seafood Platter (RM355), a spectacular array of seabass, king prawns, lobster, and scallops laid out on a brick of pink Himalayan salt. The chefs cure all the seafood in seawater before cooking, which keeps the crustaceans moist and tender while also adding undercurrents of trace elements. There is nothing that is not wonderful about the tenderness of each bite, the brightness of the lemon-butter dipping sauce, the sweetness of the roasted vegetables, and the simple pleasure of enjoying fine seafood in close view of the water which produced it.
At each table, as a means of elevating the flavours in any dish, we discover a set of flavoured salts. I can see three in the little box, one of which is garlic thyme salt, which I sprinkle onto my lobster and am pleased with the effect it draws. Then I realize that I am thinking too small in my understanding of salts. The server arrives with a platter FULL of little bowls, each containing a different flavoured salt. I’ve never before seen the likes of coconut salt, or sriracha salt, or saffron salt, but there it is, tasting just like it says. Some I would have never imagined possible, like the blue cheese salt and roasted peanut salt. I try the mixed berries salt on the roasted carrots and like the effect. Then I try the salted caramel salt on my scallops and decide that perhaps this one might be better left for dessert.
And speaking of which, we are lastly treated to the Hot Chocolate Fondant (RM35), a liquefiable chocolate cake accompanied by homemade vanilla ice cream, berries and spicy crumble. This is an ending as rich as it sounds, a trusty combination of well-balanced favourites to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Sea.Fire.Salt. Desaru Coast Review
Passing on a nightcap from Infinity Bar like the bourbon-based Sense of Smoke or the tequila and passionfruit Cartel, we soak up the last of the moonlit breeze before turning in. Showcasing the grill, the playful cuisine, and closeness of the waves, Sea.Fire.Salt. is an aptly named location to bask in the pleasure of all three. If you’re in Desaru Coast, don’t give it a miss.
Reasons to visit Sea.Fire.Salt at Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas.: Succulent grilled seafood in full view of the ocean and the unparalleled playful variety of flavoured salts.
Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas
Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast
81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor Darul Ta´zim
+66 (0) 2 365 9110
Sea.Fire.Salt Restaurant Opening Hours
Lunch: 12 noon – 5.00 pm
Dinner: 6.00 pm – 10.30 pm