Automata is situated on one of the hottest foodie streets in Sydney - Kensington Street in Chippendale. It offers only one menu option - a five course tasting menu plus snacks for $88 (with an optional beverage pairing for $60). My friend and I were sat at the long communal table, with a view to the open kitchen.
We kicked off with the snacks for the evening. The Salmon skins with mustard mayonnaise and shiso were super crispy and simply delicious. The Wagyu tongue was incredibly tender and paired very well with the enoki and miso sauce.
The first proper course was the Raw kingfish with creme fraiche, pomelo and shiso. I am a big fan of kingfish but for me, the dish lacked balance. The fish was nicely treated but the pomelo did not provide the sweetness that I was expecting.
The next course, though, was absolutely spectacular. The dish smelled incredible as it hits our table. Pulling back the roasted seaweed was the steamed hapuka. The fish was perfectly cooked, tender enough to flake apart at the slightest touch. The roe emulsion packed an incredible amount of flavour and really enhanced the dish. It was definitely a case of something tasting much better than it looked.
Duck hearts is not a common ingredient found on menus but I quite enjoyed Automata's creation. The duck hearts were delicious and the seasoning hit all the right notes. The fennel added a freshness to the dish and the red cabbage puree was just the right accompaniment.
The Smoked lamb neck was chargrilled to order. It was beautifully soft, paired with delicious fried capers and red witlof. Everything on the plate just worked together.
My friend and I decided to share the optional cheese course. The Quicke's cheddar is a cow's milk cheese from Devon. It was crumbly with quite a mild flavour. The caramelised kiwifruit added a nice touch of sweetness.
Dessert was the Yoghurt sorbet with meringue, persimmon, finger lime, rosemary and sumac. The yoghurt sorbet was tart and creamy, with discs of persimmon crusted in sumac perched on top giving it a lovely sweetness. I loved that there were so many different textures and flavours - the pearls of finger lime, the freeze dried plum and the fragrant rosemary oil made this a joy to eat.
All in all, I had a great time at Automata. The food was interesting and exciting and the service was very professional. I didn't leave feeling overly full, but with Koi dessert bar just around the corner, maybe that's not such a bad thing.
When I think of Salaryman, I think of men in grey suits being stuck in their office cubicles, working till the wee hours of the morning. This modern Japanese restaurant in Surry Hills must be the type of place they crave going to after work. The venue was slick and modern, with neon lights and dripping wall art. The menu was really interesting, and definitely not one you would find in your local Japanese eatery. It was a tough choice narrowing down what to eat.
My friends and I started with the Chicken liver parfait. The parfait was silky smooth and rich, and paired perfectly with the yuzu syrup and the buttery madeleines. It's definitely a dish that I would order again.
Next was the Prawn toast okonomiyaki, which tasted as good as it looked. The okonomiyaki sauce, bonito flakes and mayonnaise were great accompaniments to to the crunchy prawn toast.
I love bone marrow - it's rich, gelatinous and luscious. Spread onto the deep fried milk bread, it's like butter but a creamier version. The serrano ham added a salty touch but I must admit, it did get a bit rich towards the end but still, oh so delicious.
Salaryman's Pork and pippies ramen is made with a pork and chicken broth, with cha shu pork, wood fired pippies, burnt garlic and sesame oil, spring onion and pickled egg. The broth is rich and creamy and the noodles had a nice springy-ness to them. I enjoyed the addition of pippies in the ramen,
For dessert, we got the Croissant taiyaki - a fish shaped pastry filled with gooey chocolate custard. The pastry was buttery and flaky and the richness of the custard was offset by the ice cream. It was hard not to reach back in for another bite.
I am a big fan of persimmon so when I saw a dessert featuring persimmon on the menu, I had to order it. The persimmon was sweet and juicy, and teamed perfectly with the delicate sable (a French shortbread) and the creme fraiche ice cream.
I was very impressed by Salaryman overall, the ambiance is great, the food is top notch. Definitely one to visit again!
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