‘Salaryman’ (サラリーマン) means a white collar worker in Japan, but in Sydney, Salaryman is the name of the new-ish Japanese restaurant on everyone’s lips. A had made a reservation here for 9pm on a Friday evening, but we arrived about half an hour early to have a drink. Every seat in the restaurant was full, but after a few customers sitting at the bar left, we were seated.
80s and 90s rock were played throughout the evening, giving the restaurant a cool, retro vibe that clashed with its ultra-modern decor. The service was really friendly and attentive. We had staff constantly checking on us the entire evening, asking how our food was and if we needed anything. It was the best service I’ve had in Sydney for awhile.
A and I were seated at the bar, giving us optimal seating to view what the chefs were doing.
Within a few minutes, we had ordered. A and I decided on a few dishes to share between us: Butter poached spanner crab and potato tartlets ($16 for 2), Kingfish, saikyo miso, macadamia ($21), Prawn toast okonomiyaki ($14), Pork and pippie ramen ($17), and Bone marrow, duck ham, mushroom miso, milk bread ($25).
While waiting for our food, we watched the chefs at work, cutting sashimi, grating macadamia, and preparing noodles.
The butter poached spanner crab and potato tartlets were the first dish to be served. This was my pick, and one of the best dishes of the night. Topped with finely chopped shallots, the tartlet had a crisp exterior, and the combination of spanner crab and potato formed a creamy, tasty combination.
Next up was the kingfish. Fresh pieces of kingfish, and gratings of macadamia were served with a dollop of saikyo miso. Saikyo miso is the sweetest and lightest miso, and paired with the kingfish and macadamia, the entire dish had a subtle flavour.
The prawn toast okonomiyaki was A’s pick. Visually, it looked perfect, just like a traditional okonomiyaki you’d get in Osaka, but I found that it was lacking in taste. The exterior was a bit too crisp for my liking, and slightly oily. The pieces of prawn on the inside were large and fresh though, which cancelled out the exterior oiliness.
The bone marrow was a dish that both A and I agreed on. The bone marrow was covered with pieces of cured duck ham, mushroom miso and something that looked like a four leaf clover, but obviously wasn’t. I love bone marrow so much that I could eat it on its own, but the duck ham was a welcome addition. The mushroom miso had a mild flavour that was almost undetectable. I enjoyed the milk bread, which had an interesting soft, creamy interior, but A found the insides too heavy for his liking.
The main attraction at Salaryman is the ramen, and it didn’t disappoint. One thing about the pork and pippie ramen though, was that it looked like the chefs had literally opened a vat of oil onto it. We could see a thick layer of oil glistening on the top of the broth, and yet, the ramen was delicious. The noodles were my favourite kind- egg noodles that were wavy, firm and thick. The broth was slightly salty, very oily but pleasing. A commented that the pippies were fresh.
It was A’s second time dining at Salaryman, and my first. I quite liked all the dishes, and thought that the food was decently priced. I was happy with most of the aspects of the restaurant (cuisine, decor, service), minus points for a few dishes not to my taste, and would gladly come back soon.