Saltwater Café

Having heard much about this café that overlooks a famous golfing green, we waltzed in to find ourselves confronted with something that looked more like a neighbor’s fenced-up backyard than a nine-hole golf course. For starters, we tucked into ginger-infused smoked salmon fillet and Thai roulard of freshwater prawns. The salmon was rather bland on its own, but provided a refreshing burst of spiciness when eaten with the accompanying wakame salad. Wrapped in rice paper, the prawns weren’t the easiest to eat, with the chili dressing packing quite a punch for such a delicate-looking dish. We hoped our mains would be better, and opted for the vegetarian gratin of rigatoni with tomato and fresh basil and roast duck and penne pasta. Creamy and comforting, the rigatoni was pleasing enough, but for carnivores like us, some bacon would have made a world of difference. The penne came bathed in a very light cilantro pesto sauce, which went beautifully with the heady smokiness of the roast duck—but once we devoured the four tiny slices of duck we were left to nosh regretfully on the remainder of the tasteless penne. Things took a turn for the worse when we were informed that our desserts of choice (both recommended items on the menu) were unavailable. Instead, we ordered the lemongrass flavored caramel custard and wild berry ice cream with tropical fruit coulis. Funnily enough, these turned out to be the stars of the night. The custard, although not very smooth, boasted subtle nuances of lemongrass, and we thought we tasted mango too. This was served with blueberries and raspberries, the sourness of which complemented the sweetness of the custard. We liked the wild berry ice cream, which was thick and velvety, also served with a selection of fresh fruit—although the coulis was more like a thin drizzle across the plate than a temptingly generous portion of sauce. Overall, we were rather let-down by the quality of the food and the uninspired décor, but it helped that the service staff were extremely warm and attentive. We’ll come back again.