Sal Rose is a bit of a suburban secret. It’s a veritable institution in the leafy streets of Mt Albert, just across from Rocket Park, next to Pyrenees and the Four Square (possibly the last one left in Auckland?) and down the road from the school and wave pools.
The wait staff are young, but the clientele is old. We were by far the most youthful customers – the others were all elderly women and families who settled into the booths for an evening of it.
It’s all very rustic. Roll up into the car park and you’re greeted by some barrels and chairs outside. Step over the threshold and the interior is all dark wood and comfortably solid. There’s almost a sense that time slows down; the atmosphere is very leisurely and decidedly classy, without being intimidating.
Mains seem to hover around a median price of $25-30, with plenty of pizzas and pastas in a range of wickedly delectable flavours. Prawns, artichokes, and mushrooms feature predominantly. Spag bol comes as a side option – you can nab a bowl for about $7. Or for the die-hard meateaters, there’s always the Angus beef.
We went for the crab ravioli, which thankfully was stuffed with real crab meat, in a rich golden sauce with a subtle hint of olive oil and wine. Beautifully presented, if not in especially notable quantities.
The pizza was the star of the meal, however – a delightfully pliable, airy crust, topped with generous amounts of cheese and vegetables. I can tell you now that I’ll never achieve such a dough at home; I’m not even going to attempt to crack the secret of recreating it.
Alberton Ave, Mt Albert