A takeaway, a restaurant and an Alaskan fishing lodge; new Sydney restaurant Salmon and Bear is the perfect ménage-a-trois that brings the raw spirit and taste of the outdoors into a brand new adventure dining experience in the heart of Zetland.
There really is nothing like this in Sydney.
“The Alaskan lodge came from our determination to not be like every other fish concept in the world themed around blue and white colours, anchors, nets and fishermen” says Joe Ward, co-owner, General Manager and hospitality lifer. “We saw the whole lodge vibe as a great place to spend time with friends after a day in the great outdoors”.
This sentiment for originality and diner-experience is echoed by Joel Katz (ex Seagrass Group) and chef Mark Jenson (Red Lantern & Pork'd) who complete the Salmon and Bear team. “We want to occupy the middle ground between expensive Sydney fish restaurants and your traditional fish and chippers”.
As someone with a close affinity to the great outdoors, I’m always on the rummage for fresh experiences that allow me to escape and connect me to the wild. Finding these on my doorstep can be challenging, and I’ve found one in Salmon and Bear. I knew this as soon as I came eye-to-eye with a moose head on arrival.
I’ve also never tasted fish like this before. The fire and smoke from the Mibrasa charcoal oven imported from Spain creates a subtle campfire-infused flavour to the fish; perfectly grilled but super succulent thanks to the high temperature the oven reaches. Chef Mark is its main conductor and he clearly knows know to make something very special for his customers.
All fish on the menu has sustainability at its core. Salmon is the focal point (Ora King Salmon from New Zealand to be precise) with other fish options extending to barramundi, Spanish mackerel, snapper and tuna. And no, there is no Bear on the menu.
The Grizzly Plate allows you to pick and mix your fish, sauce and sides and is definitely the way to go. I was also intrigued by the Salmon Bearger, which was hands down the finest fish burger to have ever passed my lips. As Joe reminded me, “it’s all about getting grizzly”.
What better way to wash down your meal than with a Growler (a 1.9L bottle of tap beer to share with friends) and a choice of craft beers on tap: Rocks Convict Lager, Batlow OPA and Willie The Boatman—Old Salty made with Himalayan Rock Salt.
Salmon and Bear is fast, fresh and casual. It’s restaurant quality seafood without the frills and therefore without the prices. It’s a sanctuary to the outdoors lifestyle, which feels like Ray Mears built with his own bear hands (sorry).
It’s certainly one not to be missed, and will be cooking on a campfire under the stars near you soon.
Image credit: Salmon and Bear