Sydney: Mamasan

There is nothing better than a Friday night out with the girls and in homage to Halloween tonight we had tickets to see The Witches at The Golden Age Cinema but first – cocktails!

Mamasan is a Bondi institution but they’ve recently opened a Surry Hills outpost (yay for me!). I got to the bar first and grabbed a spot out the front. The menu is full of great cocktails, sake, wines and beers as well as a great selection of Japanese tapas.

Japanese tapas might sound like a weird concept but really, little bars like this in Japan just serve a great selection of different small snacks for you to pick at while you’re drinking. I’d say small plates, they say tapas. Potato, potarto.

I went with an Asian Kiss. It was super refreshing and just what I was after. A mix of gin, lime and coriander. Absolutely perfect start to a warm spring evening.

Sydney: Mamasan

By the time my cocktail arrived, my friend had joined me and we browsed through the menu. We made our selections, chatted to the waiter and then changed all our selections. To be fair, I think we did the right thing. Mamasan has a real mix of Japanese snacks from yakatori to dumplings and we were excited to try everything.

First dish to arrive was the duck pancakes. Not very Japanese but who can resist a duck pancake?

These are duck pancakes with a twist though. A huge platter arrived not just with the usual suspects of duck, spring onions, cucumber and pancakes but a gorgeous sticky and salty and sour red miso hoisin sauce and pickled red cabbage.

This wasn’t one of our original choices but I’m super glad that the waiter made us order it.

Definitely a highlight on the menu. The duck was perfectly cooked with crispy skin and still just a touch pink in the middle and the red cabbage was a little bit spicy which cut through the whole dish.

Sydney: Mamasan

Sydney: Mamasan

Sydney: Mamasan

Next up, came the scampi. Yakatori is definitely a favourite of mine when I’m in Tokyo and a few weeks ago I was taken to Tokyo bird – so in short, there are big yakatori shoes to fill when it comes to me.

First up, I’ll say this wasn’t yakatori. It might have been done on a grill (or finished off on a grill might be a better description) but more had been done to this than I’d expect at yakatori.

The scampi meat had been removed from the shell and mixed with a creamy, citrus sauce, put back into the shell and then the top of it grilled to make a crispy topping. We topped it with even more lemon and dug straight in.

It was delicious but definitely not yakatori.

Sydney: Mamasan

The final dish that we went for was some dumplings. Everyone knows that I’m a yum cha fan so hardly surprising the mixed dumplings caught my eye.

They arrived in cute little steamer barrels – one for me, one for my darling – with three dumplings: prawn, scallop and vegetable.

For me, these were definitely chinese style dumplings (not Japanese) and although yummy, something that you’ll find at every yum cha house on a Saturday.

Sydney: Mamasan

Sydney: Mamasan

Thoroughly stuffed with yummy food and a little giggly from our cocktails, we wandered off into the night to see our movie.

Overall, the cocktails and bar snacks were really good – definitely served our purposes – and the staff were friendly and attentive. My only advice is don’t go thinking you’re going to get Japanese food. It’s Asian-influenced and while there is a leaning towards Japanese over other Asian cuisines, it’s not pure Japanese.

But I’ll be back…


403 Crown Street

Surry Hills NSW 2010

+61 (02) 93318881

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