Sake Restaurant & Bar
Hamer Hall
Arts Centre Melbourne
100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC
(03) 8687 0775
http://www.sakerestaurant.com.au/melbourne

After our last baby free lunch, hubby and I thought it would be a while before we could enjoy a long, relaxing lunch (or meal) again. Junior is in childcare one day a week but as I am not working at the moment, hubby decided to take a day off work to celebrate an early Mother’s Day lunch (my first) and also reaching the one year mark as parents. We were kindly invited along to try out Sake Restaurant & Bar and were able to pick a day so we chose the day Junior is in childcare.

We had trouble finding Sake Restaurant at first. We knew it was at Hamer Hall, near the Arts Centre and were outside the entrance of Hamer Hall on St Kilda Road, but the doors were locked. After some wandering around, we realised you needed to go down the steps towards the river side and Sake was at the bottom of the stairs facing the river.

Outside Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Outside Sake

The menu has a great selection of sushi and sashimi dishes, starters, mains, extras, sushi maki and of course dessert. Our host asked if we were hungry (we were!) and she said to leave the menu to the chef and they would bring out a range of their favourite dishes. I’m glad she did that because we got to try dishes we probably wouldn’t have ordered ourselves and they turned out to the best ones!

We started off with a glass of champagne and some edamame. There is no better way to start off a nice, relaxing lunch than with a glass of bubbly!

Edamame - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Edamame – lightly salted soybeans in the pod $6

The next dish that came out looked like a mountain of panko crumbs but we were told it was the chirashi salad. Little did I know, underneath was going to be THE BEST salad I’ve had in my life! I’m so disappointed I forgot to take a photo of the salad once it was mixed through but I was too busy stuffing my face! :) I normally don’t eat much salad and only really eat it because it’s healthy and I have to, but this salad changes all that! I would seriously eat it every day if I could. There were mixed salad leaves, soba noodles, thin rice noodles (vermicelli), yuzu marinated sashimi pieces, flying fish roe, slices of sushi omelette (I think tamago) and the tempura crumb, all brought together with the most delicious, fresh dressing. This is a must order dish!

Chirashi salad - Yuzu dressed sashimi pieces, crunchy salad mix, thin noodles, sliced sushi omelette & flying fish roe, topped with daikon tsuma & tempura crunch - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Chirashi salad – Yuzu dressed sashimi pieces, crunchy salad mix, thin noodles, sliced sushi omelette & flying fish roe, topped with daikon tsuma & tempura crunch $25

We had one of the signature dishes next, which was kingfish jalapeno with a yuzu soy dressing. I don’t normally like white fish sashimi, preferring salmon above anything else, but this dish was good. The jalapeno chillis gave a slight kick.

Kingfish jalapeno - yuzu soy, jalapeno slices & coriander - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Kingfish jalapeno – yuzu soy, jalapeno slices & coriander $22

The tuna ceviche came next. It was a mountain of tuna slices, thinly sliced cucumber, jalapenos, red onion and salad leaves, topped with crunchy fried onions. I liked the addition of the fried onions. The flavour packed a punch from the lemon dressing but it was a bit too tart for me. Hubby liked it.

Tuna ceviche - lemon dressing, finished with coriander, jalapeno chilli, tomato & crunchy fried onion - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Tuna ceviche – lemon dressing, finished with coriander, jalapeno chilli, tomato & crunchy fried onion $24

The next dish was the sashimi tacos. Crispy baby tacos with tuna and salmon sashimi, accompanied by salt rimmed sake shots. I think it would have been better to start with this dish as after all the big flavours of the previous dishes, this seemed quite plain in comparison, although still good.

Sashimi tacos - tuna & salmon sashimi filled baby tacos with chilled tomato salsa matched with kozaemun junmai sake shots - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Sashimi tacos – tuna & salmon sashimi filled baby tacos with chilled tomato salsa matched with kozaemun junmai sake shots $18

The wagyu new style was brought out next. Thin slices of wagyu beef sirloin lightly seared with hot oil then finished with a ginger and yuzu soy sauce. I love the flavour combination of hot oil and soy sauce which is more commonly done with fish.

Wagyu new style - thin slices of wagyu beef, lightly seared with hot oil & finished with ginger, chives & yuzu soy - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Wagyu new style – thin slices of wagyu beef, lightly seared with hot oil & finished with ginger, chives & yuzu soy $27

We were pretty full by this stage but our host said there was still more coming so we better make room! She said the steamed prawn dumplings were coming out next. When I saw the menu description of ‘Chinese inspired shumai’, I was all like, meh, we can get prawn dumplings at yum cha. Well, you can’t get steamed prawn dumplings like this at yum cha! These were amazing prawn dumplings, so soft and delicate and covered in what looked like thinly sliced dumpling skin. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it.

Steamed prawn dumplings - 6 pieces of Chinese inspired shumai with spicy ponzu - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Steamed prawn dumplings – 6 pieces of Chinese inspired shumai with spicy ponzu $18

Our final starter before we moved onto the mains was the Patagonian toothfish lettuce cups. Bite sized morsels of miso marinated Patagonian toothfish sitting on top of a lettuce round and finished with thinly sliced deep fried pastry for crunch. The fish had a lovely, sweet caramelisation from being grilled.

'Glacier 51' Patagonian toothfish lettuce cups - 4 pieces of grilled miso marinated sustainable toothfish lettuce cups - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

‘Glacier 51′ Patagonian toothfish lettuce cups – 4 pieces of grilled miso marinated sustainable toothfish lettuce cups $20

The first main was the scampi tempura. I was already biased from the outset because I love my deep fried food, but this scampi tempura is on another level! All I can say is wow. The scampi were so amazingly soft, and the tempura was so light and crunchy. Even though I was so full by this stage, I really could not let a single piece go to waste!

Scampi tempura - crunchy tempura scampi tails with sweet ponzu, coriander & jalapeno slices - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Scampi tempura – crunchy tempura scampi tails with sweet ponzu, coriander & jalapeno slices $36

The next main was the miso cream scallops. Beautifully seared scallops with grilled baby corn, asparagus and fresh shiitake mushrooms in a tasty miso cream sauce. The scallops matched the miso cream so well.

Miso cream scallops - pan seared scallops, baby corn, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms & yuzu miso cream - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Miso cream scallops – pan seared scallops, baby corn, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms & yuzu miso cream $32

The last savoury dish to be brought out was chicken teriyaki. It was a juicy chicken breast, along with the drumstick from the wing which I thought was a bit of a strange addition. While the breast was really tender and moist, and the teriyaki sauce was good, there are better and more interesting dishes on the menu to order. Plus we had really hit our limit with the food!

Chicken teriyaki - plump breast fillet finished with sweet teriyaki sauce on bok choy & spring onions - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Chicken teriyaki – plump breast fillet finished with sweet teriyaki sauce on bok choy & spring onions $29

After a bit of break and some green tea, dessert was brought out. The first dessert was a yuzu tart. The balance between sweetness and tartness was spot on and I loved the extra biscuit crumble. A refreshing end to the meal.

Japanese yuzu tart - yuzu citrus tart, vanilla ice cream, yuzu jelly & meringue - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Japanese yuzu tart – yuzu citrus tart, vanilla ice cream, yuzu jelly & meringue $15

The second dessert was a chocolate fondant with black sesame ice cream and black sesame tuille. I’m not convinced chocolate matches with black sesame, but separately the components were great. The chocolate fondant was suitably oozy and the ice cream had a strong black sesame flavour which I like.

Chocolate fondant - warm chocolate pudding with black sesame ice cream & black sesame tuille - Sake Restaurant, Melbourne

Chocolate fondant – warm chocolate pudding with black sesame ice cream & black sesame tuille $15

I can’t believe we had so much food! It was such a wonderful experience, taking our time to savour all the food without needing to rush off anywhere. I don’t say this lightly as we love Japanese food, but Sake is my new favourite Japanese restaurant! I hope the food continues to be at the high standard we experienced as we will be back!

Over & Out, April xx

April & hubby dined as guests of Sake Melbourne

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One of my all time favourite foods is raw salmon. Like last meal on earth kind of favourite. Smoked salmon also falls into this category so when Huon Aquaculture contacted me and asked if I would like try out their Reserve Selection salmon range and create a recipe, of course I said yes!

The most common way I like to eat my smoked salmon is on a good quality piece of toasted bread and a slathering of cream cheese. I also love smoked salmon with potato and avocado. When I feel like a fancy breakfast at home, I’ll make 60 degree slow cooked eggs and crispy hash browns to have with smoked salmon and half an avocado.

Huon Reserved Selection Cold Smoked Salmon on toast

Huon salmon Reserve Selection Banquet Slice smoked salmon on home made crusty bread

Reserve Selection is top notch quality smoked salmon. The salmon is raised stress free, with sustainable practices in the pristine, cool waters of Tasmania and I think this is evident in the final product. The cold smoked salmon looked so fresh and was beautifully presented. I hate the grey part from under the skin that is often left on smoked salmon and I always cut it out, but I was glad to see the Banquet Selection smoked salmon was free of this. The smoked salmon had a nice hint of smokiness and wasn’t too salty.

Huon Reserved Selection Cold Smoked Salmon

Perfect looking smoked salmon

I also got some beautiful Huon Reserve Selection hand milked salmon caviar. I love the delightful, salty pop in the mouth of salmon caviar. It’s not something I have often so I savour it when I do! The jar says to use within 3 days so it’s quite a lot unless you are entertaining a large crowd.

Huon Reserved Selection hand milked salmon caviar

Reserve Selection hand milked caviar, orange pearls of gold!

I used both products to make a smoked salmon, avocado and tobiko stack sitting on a potato rosti and topped with some salmon caviar. It makes a great entrée or a fancy, light lunch.

Smoked salmon tartare on a potato rosti

Huon Reserve Selection Smoked salmon tartare on a potato rosti

Potato rosti
3 medium sized waxy potatoes
60g butter, melted
Salt & pepper, to taste
Oil for frying

Method
1. Par-boil potatoes until they are still firm but no longer raw (around 10-15mins).
2. Shred potatoes into a medium bowl.
3. Add melted butter and season with salt and pepper to your liking, keeping in mind smoked salmon is already salty.
4. Using your hands, form into small, tight patties.
5. Pan fry or deep fry until crispy and golden brown. Deep frying will produce better results, but I pan fried them.

Smoked salmon tartare
200g smoked salmon, chopped into short, thin strips
1 ripe avocado, cut into small cubes
Kewpie mayonnaise
2 tsp Tobiko (flying fish roe), optional
Salmon caviar, optional

Method
1. Mix in a bowl the chopped smoked salmon, cubed avocado, tobiko if using with enough kewpie mayonnaise to coat.
2. Put salmon mixture into a small food ring on top of the potato rosti and remove ring to create a neat stack.
3. Top with a teaspoon of salmon caviar.

You can order Huon Reserve Selection products online at http://shop.huonaqua.com.au/ and orders over $75 receive free shipping. Reserve Selection products are produced to individual orders and are packed into thermally insulated shipping boxes.

Over & Out, April xx

Salmon products were complimentary thanks to Huon Aquaculture.

{ 2 comments }

Saveur
Far East Plaza #01-07b
+65 6736 1121
http://www.saveur.sg

Hello from the depths of blog extinction haha! Wow, it’s been over a year since I’ve written a blog post, though I have been active on Instagram. Follow me @my_foodtrail if you want to stay more updated on my food (and other) happenings.

Life has changed completely for us and a lot has happened in the past year, the biggest being welcoming our son into the world! He’s got an Instagram account (@juniorfoodtrail) if you like all things baby. He’s now 10 months old and I can’t believe how quickly time is passing by. The first 6-7 months seemed like the longest and toughest in my life due to a whole number of issues Junior had but the last 3-4 months have flown by. He’s growing up so quickly now and his interest in everything around him is expanding exponentially!

We recently went on our first overseas holiday to Singapore with Junior so our relatives could meet him. He was 9 months old at the time and in hindsight, it wasn’t a good time to go. After a long road, he had finally gotten to a point where he was a good sleeper but that has gone out the window since we went away. Apparently babies can have a sleep regression around then so I’m not sure whether his sleep issues were holiday related or unavoidable anyway.

We did manage to have a rare couple of hours to ourselves, baby free, while we were in Singapore so we took the opportunity to have a quick meal at the nearby Saveur restaurant at Far East Plaza. It was open all day so our 3.30pm meal time was no problem. They even offer a 10% discount if you dine from 3-4pm on a weekday.

Inside Saveur, Singapore

Inside Saveur

Saveur is a casual, but nicely fitted out restaurant serving up quality French cuisine at very affordable prices. Actually, very cheap prices for the quality, style and presentation of the food! See for yourself below.

We ordered the mushroom cappuccino to start and were rather disappointed at the lack of mushroom punch. It tasted more like a diluted can of Campbells mushroom soup than the rich mushroom broth we were expecting.

Mushroom cappuccino, Saveur, Singapore

Mushroom cappuccino SGD$4.90++

We were relieved to find the rest of the meal only got better and the rest of the food was fantastic. The first dish was an entrée from the Specials menu. The tuna was perfectly seared and went well with the avocado salsa and other elements on the plate. I loved the presentation.

Seared tuna, Saveur, Singapore

Tuna – marinated seared tuna served with avocado salsa, frisee, sesame yuzu vinaigrette & hazelnut tuille SGD $10.90++

It’s been a long time since I’ve had foie gras, so when I saw it on the menu, I knew I wanted to order it. It was a very small piece, but for only $7.90, I can’t complain. It’s one of those dishes you don’t want to eat too much of so you end up feeling ill rather than enjoying it. I savoured every fatty mouthful!

Foie gras, Saveur, Singapore

Foie gras – creamy lentils & pickled pearl onion SGD $7.90++

I really love raw salmon so whenever I see it on the menu, I tend to order it. Confit salmon, while technically not raw, still maintains the kind of texture I like but even more melty. Apple and fennel is normally paired with pork, but it really worked in this salmon combination too.

Confit Salmon, Saveur, Singapore

Salmon confit – chives, konbu & apple and fennel tossed in a lemon vinaigrette SGD $9.90++

The final dish was the pan fried sea bass. It’s not a fish we come across often in Australia, so Mr Food Trail wanted to try it. The fish was cooked well and I liked the delicate texture. The crispy potatoes were so amazing, they deserve a mention too!

Sea bass, Saveur, Singapore

Sea bass – pan seared sea bass, diced sauté potato with crab meat, French beans & caper vinaigrette SGD $14.90++

It felt rather decadent eating all this food at ‘afternoon tea’ time, though it would have been dinner time back in Melbourne! I’m glad we got to enjoy one nice meal in Singapore without Junior along so we didn’t have to scoff down our food! However, Saveur does look casual enough to be baby friendly. I would definitely recommend trying out this place if you are looking for something different from local food while in Singapore.

Over & Out, April xx

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Apple & caramel tart dessert at Caprice Restaurant, Hong Kong

Highlights of Hong Kong Fine Dining

by April@MyFoodTrail on February 13, 2013

in Dining Out, French, Hong Kong

Thanks for all the congratulatory messages I received about my pregnancy from my last post! :) Besides the not so fun pregnancy symptoms I am experiencing, our baby seems to be progressing well and it’s such an amazing thing to feel him moving around inside me every day.

In this post I wanted to share a couple of fine dining restaurants we went to in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is an eating mecca, and there are hundreds upon hundreds of drool worthy restaurants to eat at. With such a high concentration of Michelin starred restaurants in one place, it was a very hard decision only choosing a few but we were only there for 6 days. We did our research as soon as we booked our flights, as we knew we would need to book ahead for some restaurants.

I had some trouble with thinking my iPhone was unlocked, but then going on holidays and realising it wasn’t, so when I came back, I had to wipe and restore my phone to make sure it was unlocked. In that process, I somehow managed to wipe ALL my photos off my phone, never to be seen again! I was so angry and upset but after trying so many things in vain to get my photos back, I had to come to terms that those photos were gone forever. While I still had the photos from my DSLR, I had lost all the photos I took of the menus so I have no descriptions of the wonderful fine dining food we ate. The menus available online weren’t the same so I apologise in advance for not having the inviting food descriptions from the menus.

Caprice Restaurant

One of the restaurants we definitely had on our list was Caprice, a French restaurant located in the Four Seasons Hotel on Hong Kong Island. It holds a prestigious 3 Michelin stars and Thanh told us that a 3 course meal during lunch time is around $70 AUD. We made sure we booked well in advance and got a beautiful table over looking the water. Even though it was a limited menu, we still got a decent choice of dishes for each of the 3 courses.

And the service, wow, I was so impressed! Each course was brought to the table at the same time by two waiters, syncing their placement at the same moment with a discreet meeting of the eyes! When they were clearing our mains, one of the waiters accidentally dropped a knife on the table and it left a mark on the pristine, stark white table cloth. Within a minute, the maître d was at our table apologising and placing a white napkin on the table to cover the stain!

The food was all very fresh and well plated and the 3 course set lunch deal is such great value for the calibre of the food you get. I would highly recommend putting this place on your must visit list for Hong Kong.

Caprice, Hong Kong - The view

The beautiful water view at Caprice Restaurant

Caprice, Hong Kong - Inside

The grand splendour of the interior

Caprice, Hong Kong - Complimentary amuse bouche & bread

Left: Complimentary amuse bouche of black sesame choux pastries
Right: Complimentary bread with your choice of either salted or unsalted French butter

Caprice, Hong Kong - Entrees

Our entrees which I can’t remember, but I know mine was the one on the left and it was like a smoky prawn jelly

Caprice, Hong Kong - Main of fish

My main of fish and pieces of raw sea urchin on the side

Caprice, Hong Kong - Main of skate fish

Hubby’s main of skate fish with a mix of buttered mushrooms

Caprice, Hong Kong - Desserts

Left: My chocolate dessert was heavenly
Right: Hubby’s apple & caramel tart

Caprice, Hong Kong - Complimentary petit fours

Complimentary petit fours that were served with the tea or coffee included in the set lunch

Amber Restaurant

Amber Restaurant made the 2012 San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (at no. 44) and has two Michelin stars. It was on our list of places to try as it has a Weekend Wine Lunch where you get 6 courses with wine pairing for a very reasonable $798 HKD each (plus 10% service charge, approx. $110 AUD).

Amber Restaurant was just as impressive as Caprice, but it seemed to have a more laid back atmosphere. We also liked that we got to try more dishes and got wine with every course. Wine is ridiculously expensive in Asia, especially in restaurants, starting at around $30-35 AUD a glass!

I don’t normally drink at lunch time because my face goes completely red after a few sips of alcohol like a typical Asian but we were on holiday and I wasn’t designated driver for once! I was having a giggle at an Asian woman on the table next to us because she was clearly intoxicated after only two drinks and her face was the colour of beetroot. Hubby was quick to point out, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and the woman and I look like twins haha!

This is another fine dining restaurant that I would recommend and the Weekend Wine lunch is fantastic value, especially if you like your wine.

Amber Restaurant, Hong Kong - Inside

The impressive interior of Amber Restaurant

Amber Restaurant, Hong Kong - Complimentary amuse bouche

Complimentary bread & 3 different amuse bouche before we’ve even started our meal

Amber Restaurant, Hong Kong - Starters

Left: I remember this as being duck foie gras with aspic & a mushroom jello
Right: My starter with ham hock terrine

Amber Restaurant, Hong Kong - Middle course salmon

My middle course of salmon, smoked & confit

Amber Restaurant, Hong Kong - Middle course fish

Hubby’s middle course of fish with French beans & a fregola base

Amber Restaurant, Hong Kong - Main course

Left: My main of pork belly which the waitress prewarned was going to be fatty. I guess people in Hong Kong complain about fatty meat!
Right: Hubby’s main of fish with white asparagus

Amber Restaurant, Hong Kong - Tasting desserts to share

Desserts were meant to be shared. Left: Strawberries & cream
Right: chocolate slice & cherry sorbet

Amber Restaurant, Hong Kong - Complimentary petit fours

Left: Another strawberry dessert
Right: Complimentary petit fours served with included coffee or tea

Over & Out, April xx

{ 7 comments }

Highlights from Hong Kong Dim Sum and some news

February 3, 2013
Famous char siew or BBQ pork buns at Tim Ho Wan

To my horror, I looked at my blog yesterday and realised that it has been three months since I last posted, and besides the last WTC Wharf competition post, it was three months before that! I can’t believe so much time has passed. What a slacker I’ve been! Sorry for the lack of updates. It [...]

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Winner of $100 WTC Wharf Voucher

November 20, 2012

Thanks to everyone who entered my competition to win a $100 WTC Wharf voucher! The lucky winner who was chosen by Nuffnang is: WINSTON Congratulations! I will email the winner and your voucher will be sent by Nuffnang. I hope you enjoy your visit to WTC Wharf! Over & Out, April xx

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Bloggers’ Progressive Dinner at WTC Wharf & a Giveaway

November 7, 2012
Grilled Haloumi at Byblos Bar & Restaurant WTC Wharf

WTC Wharf World Trade Centre (Riverside) Siddeley Street, Melbourne VIC http://www.wtcwharf.com.au Post sponsored by Nuffnang There is something about dining at a restaurant with a view, especially when it’s a view of the water. I feel that it adds something special to the dining experience and I’m glad to see the number of waterfront restaurants [...]

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Photo Sundays: Absolut Elyx Vodka Launch

August 5, 2012
Absolut Elyx Vodka Launch

During my younger years, while I was in University, my alcoholic drink of choice was vodka and my favourite mixer was cranberry juice. I remember every time I went overseas I would use the opportunity to purchase Absolut Vodka duty free because I liked the look of the bottle! Then Absolut started to bring out [...]

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Robuchon au Dome (formerly Robuchon a Galera), Macau

August 2, 2012
Robuchon au Dome, Macau

I think you would be hard pressed to find a food lover who hasn’t heard of Joël Robuchon. Joël Robuchon is famous French chef and restaurateur who has restaurants bearing his name all over the world. I’ve been lucky enough to the visit all the countries where Joël Robuchon has his restaurants, but have never [...]

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Singapore Trip Summary & Travel Guide

July 19, 2012
Singapore - Marina Bay Sands at night

I thought it would be useful to share some of the other non-food things we did on our trip to Singapore and other tips in a travel guide. It’s by no means meant to be comprehensive, but I hope it might help someone who is visiting Singapore. Weather Singapore only has two types of weather [...]

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