We had a weekday dinner at By Sang, a relatively new Japanese restaurant with some Korean influence sitting on the old Sanpo site in Rosebery, opting for the $70 per person 6 course degustation and the addition of the futomaki. Though not everything lived up to expectations, certain elements of our meal were actually quite good.
We started with the WA Scallop Tataki with salmon roe, and finger lime. The scallops used in this dish were plump and sweet, and matched well with the tangy flavours of the yuzu dressing and finger lime. I wasn’t sure if the greenery was meant to be eaten, and ultimately it remained untouched as we consumed the seafood. I thought this entree was definitely not bad, though my partner wasn’t a huge fan. I think this dish usually comes with some creme fraiche, but ours did not.
The sashimi dish consisted of slices of atlantic salmon, Ora king salmon, red emperor, cuttlefish, kingfish, and tuna (akami). The choice of using both regular salmon and king salmon (also known as chinook salmon) was an interesting one that I would not have made, though I guess perhaps it was a way to introduce novice salmon eaters to the higher quality of king salmon by way of direct comparison. The sashimi course was as fine as most sashimi generally is, though I did feel that the kingfish tasted a bit unusual.
The futomaki (?$35 supplement) of akami, toro, tamago, takuan, scallop, uni, and ikura was an unfortunate weak point. Though enticed by the inclusion of premium elements like uni and toro in this roll, we found that the mish mash of multiple seafoods and flavours per bite-sized piece made it exceedingly difficult to appreciate any individual element. While the overall flavour was good and certainly not bad, we just found ourselves disappointed that this is where we were steered towards when we asked our very enthusiastic waiter about the toro nigiri special. We probably should’ve ordered that instead.
The NSW wagyu tartare with ssamjang, garlic ponzu, wasabi aioli, parsley, and potato crisps was up next. This menu item should’ve been a slam dunk given our recent fondness for steak tartare and my partner’s general love of all things potato, but was again unfortunately a bit of a let down. My main criticisms here would be that the meat itself had a bit of an unfortunate chewiness to the texture, whilst the flavouring was too heavy of sesame oil and salt to my liking. op/;.This really was a Korean fusion take on the classic French dish, and whilst I love my Asian fusion cuisine in general, not all attempts at innovating on a classic are going to be successful. In comparison, the Korean fusion beef tartare at Soul Dining in Surry Hills is a master-stroke, and should be considered first port of call before the one at By Sang.
The NSW sand whiting tempura with papaya salad and white ponzu was a turning point in the meal. While I couldn’t identify any papaya, the moistness of the fish deep fried in a light tempura batter as well as the grated salad and citrus dressing were all very pleasant.
The second consecutive cooked fish dish of the night, the NT Humpty Doo barramundi with grilled wombok and Japanese butter curry was also very good. The fish was grilled to perfection, with a nice crispy skin and moist flesh. The butter curry sauce was particularly good, with a light flavour that tasted a level or two more complex than your average grocery store Japanese curry.
Our first choice of dessert was the Hitachino beer ice-cream, which came impaled by a bit of crispy biscuit and resting on a bed of crumbs. The ice cream was really special, with a pleasant sweetness intermingled with a distinct but unoffensive beer taste. Though our waiter told us that they don’t make their ice cream in house, I can’t actually find anywhere else online to buy this – and believe me I tried.
Our second choice of dessert was the Peanut Brittle Miso Caramel Sando, which while looking like a giant macaron was more of an ice cream sandwich. Also quite good.
There were a few hits and a few misses at our first visit to By Sang, though our experience got markedly better once the cooked food and desserts started rolling out. If I could do it all again I would skip the tasting menu, skip the futomaki and tartare, and go straight to the a la carte menu. I also expect that as the restaurant matures some of their kinks will be worked out and menu optimised. I do hope they keep on their current staff though, who were very attentive but not to the point of being overbearing. Whatever they do, I really hope they keep the beer ice cream on the menu.
304/1-9 Rothschild Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018
(02) 7251 9251