Sake Restaurant & Bar
Arts Centre Melbourne
100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC
(03) 8687 0775
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.
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 – 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 $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 $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 $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 $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 $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 $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 $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 $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 $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 $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 $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 $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