*Salmon & Bear

Thank you to the Food Critics & Bloggers Australia Community and Salmon & Bear for inviting us to this tasting. Thank you Victor (@eatingwithyoureyes_), Judy (@judylyh) and Sophia (@sophichuuu) for your company. Special thanks to Clive for hosting our evening.

Located on Newtown's bustling King Street lies Salmon & Bear; a log cabin styled restaurant which embodies a Canadian winter woodland retreat. A buck mount greets us as we cross the threshold and take in the space around us.

A conveniently placed wooden bar was to our left and to our right were wooden tables filled with patrons out for a fresh fix of fish with beers to wash it all down. 

We were promptly shown to our table and introduced to Clive, our food guide for the evening. He swiftly offers us refreshments. We couldn't pass up a couple of Young Henrys in the heart of Newtown!

Young Henrys are one of our favourite breweries. We first discovered them when we went to the Central Coast Beer Festival and have been guzzling their fine nectar since. The Newtowner is rather light and reminds us of summertime with the season just around the corner - mango flavours are certainly apparent on the nose and translate well to taste. It's a great beer overall and complimented our food nicely. 

Clive then helped navigate our tasting. He began by explaining how Salmon & Bear's Chef Mark Jensen, went on an expedition to New Zealand to establish a supply line of the country's freshest salmon. 

As if to bring Clive's story to life, two beautiful plates of poké appeared - one salmon, one tuna. A Hawaiian dish, Poké means 'section' in Hawaiian. We’re not talking about  Pokémon!

Clive encouraged us to mix everything in each dish together to bring out the most of each of them. This allowed the marinades of the fish to diffuse into the other ingredients.

Salmon Poké with avocado, corn salsa and rice
The salmon poké was amazingly fresh. The salmon cubes were soft, salty and slightly zesty bite-sized pieces that we found really enjoyable and refreshing. The other components in the poké were excellent additions that really complimented the dish. Avocado is arguably the best match for salmon, and its smooth and creamy taste proved it yet again in this instance. Crunchy corn, onion and puffed rice lent their textures and flavours well without undermining the salmon. 

Tuna Poké with kimchi, seaweed and rice
The salmon poké was probably too good though, because when we moved on to the tuna poké, we found it slightly less enjoyable. 
The tuna was beautifully fresh and we can appreciate the care taken to select such quality fish. However, it was slightly overshadowed by its salmon cousin. 

No doubt, if you have 'salmon' in your restaurant name you have to absolutely nail your salmon dishes. 
The two of us were also a bit divided on the other key component in the tuna poké - the kimchi. 

I really enjoyed the kimchi and felt its spiciness contrasted the salty freshness of the tuna nicely, whilst also adding a bit of a Korean flair to the dish. However, Jay found the kimchi didn't really suit the overall vibe of Salmon  & Bear and found it blunted the freshness of the tuna. 

Rice was also used to pad the poké dishes out without making them heavy. Combining all these ingredients together made for generous portions of poké which were great for sharing amongst our table of six. 

3 tacos - Left to Right: Prawn taco, Crispy Hoki taco, Salmon taco
Our next course was two plates of three different kinds of fish tacos. We were immediately grateful that we had enough tacos to enjoy a whole one each  - it made the tasting so much more practical and diplomatic as we didn't have to worry about even taco distribution. As a result, Jay and I tried two of the three taco varieties.

Taco # 1 - Sticky Soy-Glazed Salmon
This taco was simply amazing. The glaze had some noticeable smokiness on the palate and the salmon was cooked to perfection, melting in our mouths as we made our way through it. We also really liked the sriracha mayo on this taco as it finished each mouthful with a slight kick, which was wonderfully washed down with some more Newtowner beer. 

Crispy Hoki Taco
Taco #2 - Crispy Fish (NZ Hoki)
Encased in a rather light and crispy batter, the Hoki tasted almost as good as the salmon taco. Clive mentioned the Hoki was sustainably sourced from NZ in a similar way to their salmon. We couldn't help but notice how fresh the Hoki tasted, which was enhanced further from a drizzling of lime juice. 

Two Grisly Plates - Left: Salmon Grizzly Plate, Right: Kingfish Grizzly Plate
Our main for the evening was the renowned Grizzly Plate; a dish that consists of a fish fillet portion, sauce and two sides. 
Clive handled our selection, organising two Grizzly Plates for the table. One consisted of salmon with salsa verde, roasted vegetables and fries. The other plate was kingfish with aioli, sweet potato fries and Moroccan salad.

Salmon Grizzly Plate with salsa verde, roasted vegetables and chips. 
Like the previous salmon taco, the salmon fillet in the Grizzly Plate was cooked with care and fell apart easily as we cut into it. The skin was slightly charred, lending some smoky flavours to the dish. The skin's crispiness also contrasted the soft texture of the salmon, adding an extra layer of complexity to each mouthful. The salsa verde was a nice addition, providing some herby earthiness to the fish. 

Our roasted vegetables were a little underwhelming as nothing really unique stood out to us that really made the side shine. We simply opted out and focused on the salmon. 

The chips had a crunchy outside layer and a fluffy centre which we love to see in our chips! There was also a liberal shaking of salt that provided a nice seasoning and encouraged us to reach for our Newtowners. 

Kingfish Grizzly Plate with aioli, sweet potato fries and Moroccan salad (Not shown. In this picture is a corn salsa, not tasted by Eatventures).
Kingfish is one of my favourite fish and the Kingfish fillet in this Grizzly Plate did not disappoint! Cooked to perfection, the kingfish was as succulent and fresh as its salmon cousin and its skin was just as crispy. The aioli was a nice, creamy addition that complemented the kingfish nicely, providing a creamy-tangy element. It was also great with the regular chips from the Salmon Grizzly Plate so we'd recommend this combo. 

The sweet potato chips were just as good to our tastebuds as the regular chips. They had a nice crispy coating - fried for just the right amount of time. A generous sprinkle of salt was also noticed and enjoyed. 

You probably could make some friends with Salmon & Bear's Moroccan Salad. Crunchy, vibrant and fresh, the salad had some earthy elements lent by the carrot and radish with some pops of sweetness from the orange pieces and currents. The sherry vinaigrette was a great dressing, lending a slightly sour yet sweet finish. Overall this salad was really enjoyable. 

We like fish, and we loved Salmon & Bear's unique signature fish dishes that are hard to find anywhere else. We look forward to seeing this restaurant thrive and will be back in the near future. 

Written by Lachlan Munings (@mister_eats) 



Salmon & Bear Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

No comments:

Post a Comment