With a new seasonal menu just in time for the chilly winter season, Executive Chef Wayne Brown has brought Japanese food and culture to life at Sake with a unique menu that features contemporary sushi alongside traditional Japanese dishes.
We commenced our evening with a couple of outstanding cocktails. Sake’s signature cocktail, the Hattori Hanzo was wonderfully different and absolutely delectable. Served in a goblet over ice with muddled cucumber and jalapeno shaken with gin, yuzu, freshly squeezed lemon juice and elderflower, the flavours were light, bright and clean with a slight kick from the jalapeno.
Sake's take on the classic Negroni, the 'Nigami', was similarly enjoyable - a skilful composition of Japanese shochu, Aperol and sweet vermouth stirred with lemon bitters and a grapefruit twist.
We also had the opportunity to sample some exquisite Japanese craft beer from their extensive list.
While Saké has you covered in terms of Japanese-inspired cocktails and craft beers, food and sake pairing is a key focus. This is based on the philosophy that different flavour elements in food can be altered when matched to the right sakes.
Trained in sake appreciation, the exceptional staff happily guide guests through the extensive sake menu. We were pleased to indulge in their omakase menu matched to a range of premium imported sakes, which allowed us to experience the Japanese tradition of delicately balancing flavours.
With a range of styles featuring flavours ranging from floral and fruity to nutty and earthy, appreciating the subtle balance is something exciting that Sake is keen to share with diners.
The kingfish was a positive highlight. The thick slices of very fresh kingfish were served with yuzu soy, jalapeño slices and coriander. The dish was notable for the quality of the kingfish and the interplay between the tartness of the yuzu soy and perfect hint of spice from the jalapeño. It was a simple but well executed dish.
Wagyu new style thin slices of wagyu beef lightly seared with hot oil & finished with ginger, chives & yuzu soy
Matched with: Kozaemon Junmai Ginjo Bizen Omachi
The Wagyu dish contained delicate slices of rare Wagyu, served with a beautiful yuzu soy sauce. The accompaniments of ginger and chives worked wonderfully to draw out the robust beefiness of the Wagyu and enhance the meat with extra flavours. We adored the melt-in-the-mouth texture of the slices that had been perfectly cooked.
Steamed prawn dumplings 6 pieces of Chinese-inspired shumai with spicy ponzu
The steamed prawn dumplings prevailed in both taste and texture. Delicious prawn fillings were encased in a blissfully silken rice noodle casing and was an absolute delight when bathed in a mind-blowing spicy ponzu concoction. Possessing the perfect amount of heat and tartness, these dumplings certainly tantalised our taste buds.
Nasu dengaku - grilled eggplant, caramelized miso
One of our favourite courses from our evening was the dish of grilled eggplant. It was a well-conceived dish that took full advantage of the eggplant’s most notable characteristic – its supple flesh. The thick pieces of eggplant were adorned with caramelized miso. The creamy eggplant flesh melted in the mouth in a manner similar to unctuous pork fat. This gem of a vegetarian dish was one that commanded respect.
Fragrant duck breast, red den miso, snow pea tendrils, mikan marmalade
Matched with: 2013 Pinot Noir from our good friends Tarra Warra
The slices of duck breast were cooked to a rarely found perfection, allowing the rich flavour of the duck to shine through. The umami-laden miso worked well with the sweet and sticky mikan marmalade. Together, they provided the crowning element to this luxurious dish.
A commendable modern rendition of a traditional Japanese dish, the batter was ethereally light and crispy. The soft shell crab which sat within the batter was fresh and most memorable. The tangy ponzu sauce was the perfect accompaniment which cut through the rich oiliness while the kohlrabi remoulade provided a refreshing interlude between the tempura pieces.
The nigiri was expertly crafted and the plump, pieces of fish were incredibly fresh. It is clear that Saké is using only the freshest, highest quality seafood.
Matched with: Kokuto Umeshu
Pleasing to both the eyes and palate, this dessert of caramelized white chocolate, chocolate mousse sesame praline and sesame ice cream was simply outstanding. The mellow, milkiness of the white chocolate paired exceptionally well with the creamy mousse. Eaten together with the sesame ice cream, this dessert was the most balanced of flavour explosions and textures. An exemplary display of Saké s versatility.
Revel in Executive Chef Wayne Brown’s innovative and ever-changing menu and to indulge in mouth-watering dishes that combine the very best of modern and classic Japanese, served with a cool nod to the much-loved local Melbourne flavours. All dishes are accompanied by an extensive cocktail, wine and unique saké menu, designed to enhance flavours and ensure the Saké dining experience is unforgettable.
Location: Hamer Hall, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne