Salmon is my favourite type of fish, particularly when it’s cooked just right so that the flesh is still moist and falls apart at the softest touch of a fork. So when I heard there was a new kid in town specialising in salmon (but luckily not Bear…as the name may suggest), I had to visit to see for myself what they were cooking up.
I must admit I hadn’t realised how developed Zetland had become, with its own shopping centre and towering apartment blocks everywhere, springing up just off the motorway to the airport. Salmon & Bear is located at the bottom of one of these apartment buildings, with an outdoor courtyard seating area and a cosy, wooden panelled interior with an open kitchen that features its hardworking Mibrasa oven where their food is grilled. The vibe we get as soon as we step through the door is a modern Alaskan hunting lodge, complete with chic industrial lighting.
We get straight into the salmon goodness, starting with some Salmon Fishcakes which featured a lightly crumbed exterior packed full of fresh salmon inside – each mouthful was a delight, especially when paired with their creamy peri peri sauce on the side. I usually view fishcakes with some scepticism as they’re generally a bit rubbery tasting, but this fishcake was 100% real salmon and you could taste it with every bite.
Salmon Fishcakes, $12 (4 per serve)
With our tastebuds primed for more salmon, we dug into the Sticky Soy Glazed Salmon Taco and Crispy Fish Taco which featured Hoki from New Zealand. Both tacos came with cabbage, salsa verde, pickled pink onions, coriander, lime and an addictive sriracha mayo which just elevates everything to another level. Both were quite delicious (albeit messy to eat), with the glazed salmon just falling apart as we bit into it and the crispy fish giving us a break from all the salmon.
Sticky Soy Glazed Salmon Taco and Crispy Fish Taco, $6 each
Last but not least, we had their signature Grizzly Plate which is a pick your own adventure style dish – choose your fish, your sauce and any 2 sides or salads. We opted for Ora King Salmon (naturally) which was charcoal grilled in the Mibrasa oven to perfection so that the skin was crispy but the flesh was still juicy and full of an almost buttery flavour; it practically didn’t even need the flavoursome salsa verde we had picked as our sauce. I loved their vibrant, fresh chargrilled corn salsa which was a lovely accompaniment and gave us a nice shot of veggies (it also features cucumber, red capsicum, tomato, shallots, mint and coriander) all topped off with a tasty lemon and sour cream dressing. Our other side was the exotic Moroccan salad which was surprisingly a bit more subdued than the corn salsa, since it consisted of grated carrot, radish, currants, mint and some orange segments with a sherry vinaigrette.
The Grizzly Plate, $25
I found Salmon & Bear to be fantastic value for the quality of dishes that they serve up. It was easy to be impressed with fish that fresh and grilled to that calibre in a laidback, casual dining setting. It’s a winning formula that will keep people (including us) coming back for more at this rare gem of an eatery.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Salmon and Bear