[RESTAURANT REVIEW] Diving deep into a seafood haven: Sole Seabar by Tarragon
Fresh seafood, exquisite cocktails, breathtaking views and friendly service: One word, Sole
A refined, sophisticated, welcoming and open atmosphere is what you can expect when visiting and dining at Sole. Conveniently located in the heart of buzzing St. Julians with views looking over the Mediterranean Sea, diners are treated to breathtaking scenery along with mouth-watering and carefully constructed dishes.
Specialising in fish, Sole is a true seafood haven. I visited Sole with my guests in the Summer and the seating arrangement allowed us to dine in style outdoors. The seating complimented the fresh, delicious and specially crafted meals as it was all about light and fresh eating and feeling refreshed.
Sole truly stands out for multiple reasons. A show-stopping feature that they proudly boast of, is their removable roof. The roof too, caters to the seasons and weather as during the warmer months, it opens up completely, creating an immersive indoor-outdoor dining experience. As the night falls, diners who sit inside can look up and observe the beautiful skies. My guests and I opted to sit outdoors to fully experience the sensational views and enjoy the warm and fresh breeze. Looking over the menu, there was a clear sense of a sharing and social dining concept as Sole offered a vast selection of sharing platters. This enforced the idea that Sole promotes the initiative of groups being together and eating as one to form a deeper sense of connection and togetherness.
Whilst looking through the menu, we could sense that the dishes had all been carefully crafted as the descriptions of each dish and ingredient combinations were truly concise, inviting and exciting. Many dishes grabbed our attention, however, obviously with personal taste in mind, we opted for the Quarto Crudo, Otoro Bluefin Tuna, King Prawns, Smoked Octopus, Grilled Branzino, Surf ‘N’ Turf and the Black Angus Ribeye. The beverage menu was also extremely eye-catching as the multiple cocktails, wines, mocktails and alcoholic beverages that were available were mouth-watering.
My guests were spoilt for choice as there were many cocktails jumping out at them. My guests eventually opted for the JellyFish Sting, which gave a citrus kick, the Sole 007, which was a classic Vodka Martini, the Tequila Sunset, which entailed a fruity take on the classic Tequila, the Sirena which included Ameretto and lemon (as well as a beautiful hand-crafted image atop of the beverage) and myself, who went for the Summer Evening mocktail, which was a vibrant mix of strawberry, mint and lime. The beverages did not disappoint and from tasting them alone, we could not wait to see what else Sole had in store for us.
Following the strong belief in eating together as one, when ordering our food, we opted for the sharing platter for starters (Quarto Crudo), which consisted of thinly sliced fresh bluefin tuna, 120hr dry aged swordfish, 96hr dry aged red snapper and prawns. The fish were all presented exceptionally well and were all complimented with their own respective garnish. The combination of balsamic pearls, a variety of micro-greens and a slight touch of Mediterranean sea salt, brought this dish together perfectly and left a very fresh and subtle taste in the mouth. The fish variety left no after-taste either but rather, awoken the palate to the forth-coming dishes we were going to soon devour. The Otoro Bluefin Tuna was a crowd favourite as the slightly salted yet citrus-infused Ponzu sauce paired with the fresh tuna, transported my guests and me to an Asian haven. The Ponzu sauce complimented the tuna and the flavours of the dish all worked in harmony, certainly having us wanting more.
Once the appetisers were devoured, we were treated to palate cleansers – also known as “Intermediates”. This consisted of a selection of sorbets and two different types of ‘molecular shells.’ The sorbets were just the right balance of sweet and citrusy. The citrus successfully cut through the slight sweetness and created a very fresh and summery flavour in the mouth whilst the sweetness left an overall pleasant flavour. The sorbets were in the flavours of lemon and fresh thyme and watermelon and local mint. The molecular shells were another interesting addition as they too were provided for a palate cleanse. They were soft and when you bit into them, they created a small burst which revealed their delicious and subtle flavour. The flavours were orange and rosemary as well as elderflower and lime. Again, with the addition of citrus combined with sweetness, the flavours were able to balance out and create a fresh aftertaste.
Our mains then arrived at the table and the aromas that were present were truly phenomenal. The seafood all had a very pleasant aroma and there was no distinct ‘fish odour’ which indicated to us that the seafood was exceptionally fresh. My king prawns, which were served in a bisque, released an aroma of fresh garlic and an assortment of herbs. The prawns were perfectly cooked as they presented a soft yet vivid red colour. With the addition of the slightly orange-coloured sauce and garnishing of lemon, the plate reminded me of a true summer sunset which further reinforced the idea that Sole truly considers the season when serving dishes to their customers that truly complement the atmosphere that is created during each season.
My guests had all informed me that their dishes were all extremely fresh and perfectly cooked. Both the Black Angus Ribeye and the Surf ’N’ Turf steaks were tender and simply seasoned to perfection. It is important to add that both guests who ordered steak requested for them to be cooked a certain way and both requests were followed with both being cooked medium rare – a small yet highly appreciated and noted consideration. My other guest ordered the grilled branzino. The fresh fillet had a slight sweetness to it and the knife effortlessly cut through. It was paired with a silky smooth mashed potato and finished with a Mediterranean sauce consisting of fresh lemon, fresh herbs, white wine, olive oil and garlic. The garlic elevated the dish to the next level thanks to its distinct and fresh flavour profile. My final guest opted for the octopus. The octopus melted like butter and had a lovely rich and intense flavour – thanks to the tomato sauce that accompanied the dish’s main attraction.
All guests including myself were left very impressed and satisfied with our mains. The seafood across the board left an ever so subtle ‘fish’ taste on the palate – however, it was not lingering or overpowering.
It was finally time for our final course – dessert. Since we had eaten relatively light, we were all looking forward to digging in and finishing off our night with a bang. We opted for the fresh fruit platter and the Coral Reef. The fruit platter arrived and it was truly sensational. Offering an assortment of fresh, local and in-season produce, Sole truly aims to serve its diner the best quality ingredients. We were treated with fresh strawberries, kiwi fruit, figs, blueberries, pineapple, melon and peaches. They all boasted a subtly sweet taste and presented a colourful display in the generously large bowl. Garnished with mint, the fruit lightly took on the minty flavour and created a very fresh and clean dessert. We also thoroughly enjoyed the Coral Reef. A delicate and precisely crafted dessert that consisted of pink pavlova, fresh mint and fluffy citrus cream. The pavlova too was fluffy and delicate. The spoon glided into the pavlova seamlessly. The citrus cream that was paired added a lovely citrus kick and perfectly cut through the sweetness of the pavlova.
If you’re after a refined restaurant that serves high-quality, delicious and fresh food with attentive staff and beautiful views, Sole Seabar by Tarragon is the place for you. A true seafood lovers paradise will have you coming back for more.
For more information and to view their menu, visit their Facebook page.