Salaryman, Surry Hills

Eat, Restaurants, Sydney / 2 December 2015

A new ramen joint is heating up Sydney – Salaryman.

The rise of ramen continues in Sydney with the opening of this modern-day noodle bar in Surry Hills. Salaryman is the new project of Steven Seckhold from Flying Fish, who after working in fine dining for 18 years is moving in a new direction with this modern take on Japanese street food. The food, drink and aesthetic is all inspired by the “work hard play hard” ethos of the “Salaryman,” a term used to refer to the masses of white collared workers of Japan.
Cool ramen bar by day, grungy izakaya-style bar by night, this bar certainly encapsulates the busy lifestyle of Japan and it’s hard workers. However, there are glimpses of Seckhold’s fine dining past, with the menu focusing on using quality ingredients in a sustainable way.
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Seckold and his team will butcher on site and aim to use the whole animal, including making broths out of bones and other sustainable measures. The menu will change daily with new and exciting options making each visit unique.
One day, the menu may feature tsukemen (dipping ramen) as noodles with a side of coconut-based dipping sauce and a side of robata calamari. Another, a whole bird quail mazemen (minimal broth ramen), with stock made from the quail bones, confit meat from the legs and breast carved from the crown just before serving, paired with miso corn.
Let’s hope you go on a day they’re serving the robata lady Elliott Island Bugs served in small lettuce cups with a brown butter emulsion. This was our favourite dish on the menu the night we dined at Salaryman. Another unexpected winning dish was the pea tartlet with smoked crème fraîche (incredible) and cured yolk.
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We tried three different ramens on our visit starting with the Shio Ramen, a more traditional style ramen made with chicken broth, chashu pork, menma, nore, spring onion and a shoyu egg. Then the Whole Quail Mazemen ramen, a dish Seckhold admits he was inspired to create because, as he says “I’d never seen a quail ramen before so I thought, let’s do it”! The third was a Tantanmen ramen with ground pork, chashu pork, bok choy, shoyu egg done in a chicken broth with sesame chilli.
All were full of flavour and significantly lighter than a lot of ramens. Seckhold explains he’s been working on the recipes to avoid heavy, overpowering dishes that put you in a food coma. He wants diners to be able to eat and still go out if they want to without needing a nap!
The cocktail list is still a work in progress but a must-try is the Chamomile Old Fashion made with Buffalo Trace, chamomile syrup and angostura bitters. For something a little lighter try the When in Rome… a refreshing mix of Artichoke gin, mint, lemon and artichoke syrup. They also serve pre-bottled, Carbonated Americano cocktails, another nifty nod to street food dining.
The vibe is causal at Salary Man. Come for a drink after work and order some snacks at the bar, take a seat in main the restaurant with friends or perch yourself at the kitchen bar and watch Seckhold and his team at work. Either way Salaryman is a place for all, hard working or not, one things for sure, Seckhold and his team are working hard to deliver an exciting dining experience in Surry Hills.
Salaryman opens Friday 4th December 2015.
52-54 Albion St, Surry Hills 9188 2985, Monday- Saturday: 11.30am – 10.00pm
See website
Read about Steven Seckhold’s other restaurant Flying Fish, which celebrated it’s ten years in 2014.