Transport yourself to a cabin in the middle of The Rocky Mountains, and you might just be able to replicate the feel of Chef Mark Jensen’s new venture Salmon & Bear. Located across the road from Zetland’s East Village, Salmon & Bear has a very rustic and warm homely feel to the place and with the timber fit out, it certainly resembles a cabin.
Consisting of only sustainable seafood, Chef Jensen is able to source the best produce from all over the world and this in turn also ensures the highest quality and maximum availability. The menu is quite streamlined and is developed to cater for a relaxed but high quality meal. The Grizzly plate by far is the most popular option consisting of a 230-gram fillet of fish, a salad and a side. For $25, patrons can well and truly be fed.
Now you wonder, how do Salmon & Bear cook their produce? The answer lies in the Big Red Beast also known as a Mibarsa Oven. This thing is hot! Up to 650 degrees of hot to be exact. Transported all the way from Spain, there are only a handful in Australia and this is what sets Salmon & Bear apart from the competition. Predominantly used for meats, Chef Jensen has turned the tables and really upped the heat. He uses Australian Gidgee Gum coal which burns more consistently and really produces more of a natural and cleaner flavour onto the fish.
Watching him in action is truly a great sight to behold. From the start to finish, every stage is meticulously measured out and you truly get an understanding of how difficult it really is to perfect the grill. Add to the fact the kitchen can get extremely hot and is quite small, and you definitely gain a greater appreciation of the difficultly of every dish laid out in front of you.
Now, the taste verdict! I’ll start with the Ora King Salmon. Cooked medium rare so it’s slightly pink in the centre, the first thing I noticed upon tasting is the incredible freshness of the fish. It’s literally bursting with flavours. The second thing I noticed was the crispiness of the skin as opposed to the beautiful delicacy of the fish itself. Great contrast of textures and really well balanced. I’m told it is really easy to char the skin at such high temperatures, so timing is imperative. The Barramundi is cooked through as opposed to the Salmon, but shares a lot of similarities in that the freshness is immediately noticeable and the texture balance between the skin and flesh is spot on. The barramundi has a little more bite though and just edges the salmon due to it being a little less oily. Overall, two great pieces of fish cooked to perfection.
As good as the fish is though, they all need accompaniments right? Salmon & Bear have truly got you covered. Whether you’re after a refreshing and innovative salad or a more wholesome side like sweet potato fries, you’ll be comforted to know that equal emphasis is placed on them to ensure maximum enjoyment for the guest. Also check out the bar section where there is an outstanding range of craft beers from the likes of Willie the Boatman (who do a ridiculously good Himalayan sea salt beer) and the Rocks Brewing.
All in all, a great local casual diner producing some expertly cooked seafood in a welcoming and homely environment. Special thanks to Chef Mark Jensen and his team for being so patient and really conveying their passion through.
Salmon & Bear
6 Defries Avenue, Zetland, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9662 8188
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Salmon & Bear