Goryon-San’s ‘salt bae’ makes these special grilled skewers sing

6 Min Read
Goryon-san skewers of pork tightly wrapped around lettuce.

We Sydneysiders love Japanese izakaya food bars. But there aren’t many of the Hakata kushiyaki varietyand that’s where Goryon-San really shines.

Izakaya Goryon-San Sydney serves a special sort of grilled skewer: Hakata kushiyaki, a street food from Hakata in Fukuoka prefecture on Kyūshū Island in the south of Japan.

The protein-based skewers are distinguished by a punctilious sprinkling of salt (shi-o), of which Japan’s ‘salt bae’ and head chef Yuto Moriue is master.

Goryon-San master chef Yuto Moriue knows just how to make these skewers sing (Photo: Courtesy Goryon-San Sydney)
Master chef Yuto Moriue is king of the kushiyaki and yakitori skewers (Photo courtesy of Goryon-San Sydney).

Moriue tells Two Chat Food he’s committed to creating authentic Hakata food, whether that’s kushiyaki and yakitori (chicken skewers) or ramen and gyoza hotpot.

“I want guests to have a pure Japanese dining experience at Goryon-San,” he says. “To bring you to relax after [you’ve had] a whole day of hard work.”

He also makes skewers with cheese and jam toppings for a western palate. There’s one with berry mozzarella cheese wrapped in pork belly, another with Camembert cheese and one with Gorgonzola wrapped in tortilla honey.

But skewers aren’t the only items on the menu. Goryon-San has another master chef – Mori-San – who creates side dishes like the moreish soy sesame-dripped goma salmon carpaccio and tartare wagyu mille-feuille.

Tartar wagyu millefeuille at Goryon-San Surry Hills Sydney.
Take a moment to marvel at this tartare wagyu mille-feuille masterpiece (Photo courtesy of Goryon-San).

FOOD

Andrea: We start with truffle edamame – that’s edamame dusted with truffle salt, and, if that weren’t already a treat, they’re also dripped in truffle oil.

Rex: The wagyu tama toro croquette makes its way to our table – a half-boiled egg that’s stuffed with deep-fried wagyu and encased in a potato croquette. It’s finished with a red wine tomato sauce and Japanese tartar.

Andrea: Just as we finish savouring the croquettes, the goma salmon carpaccio arrives. It tastes just as it delights my eyes and gets its ‘oomph’ from finely ground spices, a sprinkle of seaweed and soy sesame dressing.

Goma Salmon Carpaccio at Goryon-San Surry Hills, Sydney
Delicately folded salmon at Goryon-San (Photo courtesy of Goryon-San).

Rex: The scampi gets my attention. You can taste the smoke that comes from grilling them over coals, but it doesn’t overpower the sweet meat.

Grilled prawns at Goryon-San.
Grilled prawns, soaking up fresh lemon juice.

Andrea: Things really get going when the yasaimaki joins: salty shaves of meat encasing vegetables on skewers is what sets Goryon-San apart.

We start with tightly packed lettuce wrapped in ribbons of pork belly, grilled until tender.

We start with tightly packed lettuce wrapped in ribbons of pork belly that have been grilled until tender and juicy, and sprinkled with salt.

pork and lettuce skewers from Japan.
Goryon-san skewers of pork tightly wrapped around lettuce.

Rex: There’s no way we’re leaving tonight without ordering the ‘Extremely Tender Loin’ wagyu version, and it doesn’t disappoint. The sukiyaki-flavoured meat is balanced by the neutral-flavoured lettuce. This picture says enough really:

Extremely Tender Loin wagyu beef skewers at Goryon-San.
Extremely Tender Loin.

Andrea: We end our meal with the ice-cream baguette, which I probably wouldn’t have ordered if I had come on my own – I imagined it would quickly become a mess of soggy bread. But I am SO wrong.

Rex: Each element keeps its form, much like a cream-centred biscuit. It’s a catchy contrast between a fresh, crusty baguette and a solid chunk of decadent ice cream.

Andrea: I’m sold.

Ice cream baguette at Goryon-San.
A fine combination.

AMBIENCE

Rex: A kakurega is the sort of izakaya where you can relax over good food with family and friends in a cosy setting – kind of like a pub setting – and Goryon-San is true to this style.

Andrea: As we head into the depths of autumn, this warmly lit, bustling restaurant takes you in and leaves you to unwind with friends and family in your own little nook until you’re ready to head home. 

SERVICE

Rex: Goryon-San, operated by the local wagyu yakiniku​ restaurant Rengaya, was developed by Basics Co. Ltd, which has already opened outlets in Tokyo, Shibuya and Roppongi.

In the Hakata/Fukuoka dialect, a Goryon-San means a woman who carries out household affairs – but while we’re well looked after tonight, there’s nothing gender specific about it.

Andrea: This kakurega has a wide range of beverages to choose from – from fruit juices, Japanese and craft beer to shochu, sake and whisky, to champagne, sparkling, white and red wines.

If you feel like somewhere to settle in for an evening, you can easily spend several hours here.

Rex: The restaurant is packed. Even still, they make time to help you select your banquet. But we recommend booking in advance, unless you’re happy to wait.

If you feel like somewhere to settle for an evening, especially as the week draws to an end, you can easily spend several hours here winding down and enjoying the fare.

You can follow Goryon-San on Instagram.


Goryon-San | $$
47 Reservoir St, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia
Tue-Fri: 12:00pm-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:00pm
Sat: 5:30pm-10:00pm
Sun: 5:30pm-9:00pm

 

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