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Rocket @ Saltwater on the third floor of the Cornerhouse, is, from the food to the service to the design, in a word, delicious. The restaurant itself is lush with framed paintings on the ceilings, soft lighting on feature walls and bluesy music playing throughout. Despite visiting on a Tuesday, a typically slow night to go out, it was busy with groups of friends, love struck couples and older families out for mid-week meals all enjoying the restaurants relaxed, sophisticated vibe.
As soon as we were led to our seats by our waitress for the night (who was helpful, friendly and best of all, non-intrusive) Emma and I did what all self-respecting students do and went straight to the drinks menu. The list of non-alcoholic drinks (between £3-4) were almost as extensive as the alcoholic ones (all around £7-£8). Emma’s Raspberry Moscow Mule added a touch of class to the proceedings and was divine to boot. I went for the Sunshine Smoothie, buttercup yellow and super sweet, it had half a passion fruit balanced on top and tasted like Caribbean sunsets. The first thumbs up of the evening. Which leads me on to the meals, oh the meals! The portions were generous and beautifully presented; my starter of caramelised chicken and sugar salted peanuts with green mango and lime looked as mouth-watering as it tasted. The rich chicken was the perfect match to the fresh, juicy salad. Emma’s starter of mozzarella, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar was an indicator as to the quality of the food served here, with the fresh creamy mozzarella served simply and at its best.
My main of Surf and Turf (a bowl of salad, prawns and squid in a crisp light batter with a medium rare steak on top) was almost too generous. Though lighter than other Surf and Turf’s I’ve had before, heavier of the surf than the turf, it was filling and the flavours fresh. But after demolishing my starter and still holding out for the dessert that was to follow, it took an almost herculean effort to finish. Even Emma, who hasn’t not finished a meal since 1998, only managed to finish half of her Spicy Mediterranean Pizza. In fairness to her, it was the size of a car tire with a crisp thin base covered in rich tomato sauce, roasted vegetables and whole high quality spicy sausages, sliced in half. It was in her words “just amazing”. Just as we were having the ‘is it too classy an establishment to ask to take it home?’ debate, the waitress saved us any awkwardness by asking would we like our meals wrapped up to go. While this place is classy, it is clear that they understand students. We both left with a handbag filled with tinfoil and as we all know, this can only ever be a good thing.
When desserts came, lemon and mango sorbet for me, dulce de leche and banana filled crepe with honey and toasted almonds for Emma, we were fit to burst. The sorbet was light, refreshing and a much needed palate cleanser after the onslaught it had just endured, while the crepe was intensely sweet without being sickly and an all together lovely end to a lovely meal.
By the time we had put on our coats – buttons much tighter than they were when we arrived – and left, we had been there three hours. Three hours! It’s just that much of a wonderful place to be. Rocket @ Saltwater is the perfect place for ‘Special Nights Out’s; fancy birthday parties, date nights, or the holy grail of meal times, when the parents come down for a visit. For what you get, the prices are fair, the food delicious and the staff genuinely friendly. Though perhaps, outside of the Monday to Friday 12-6:30pm offers menu for 50% off Pizza boards and Platters on the bar food menu and 30% off the A La Carte mains, not an everyday sort of place (unless you’re a trust fund baby); however, for those times when you want something special, it really is worth paying for. And for the hardy amongst us, Rocket has an outdoor terrace wrapped up in twinkly lights that’s begging for late night drinks under the stars or, in the purely hypothetical situation that the weather is ever reasonable enough to want to spend that much time outside, lovely for alfresco dining. Eating at Rocket @ Saltwater felt like luxury, but without the guilt or the crushing price tag. So next time you feel like eating like a king, do it properly and go to Rocket @ Saltwater. You can thank us later.