Sake Restaurant has been somewhere I've wanted to go after reading April's blog post about it. You know the story, so many new places in Melbourne that you tend to never get round to visiting the older places. So when I got an invite to try it, I was really excited to go. Sake is located in Hamer Hall of the Arts Centre and somewhere lots of people go for pre-show meals. It's also great for a lingering meal as the setting is so beautiful. Right next to the Yarra River, the restaurant gives you stunning views as there are floor to ceiling windows to maximise that view.
The style of food served at Sake is what you would say is modern Japanese. Use of classic Japanese flavours and techniques to create both traditional dishes and some newer dishes. My friend and I sampled a few different items from the different sections of the menu to get a feel for the overall food style.
We had the following food:
Kingfish jalapeño with yuzu soy
Pacific oysters served 3 ways
Chicken karaage with spicy mayo
Miso-cream scallops with baby corn and asparagus
12 hour braised pork belly with 64°C egg and truffle oil scallions
Momo umeshu - poached peach, blood peach fool, candy shards, shaved granita
Goma - caramelized white chocolate, chocolate mousse, sesame praline, sesame ice cream
Everything was of a really high standard and I liked it. Starting with the entrees, the sushi was very fresh and clean. The kingfish with jalapeno was a nice take on a fish dish, with great flavours. I absolutely loved the oysters served three ways, each very different and delicious. Lastly, the chicken karaage was beautifully crispy.
For the mains, the scallops were the real highlight. Plump, perfectly cooked scallops was served in this really silky cream. We both loved this dish. As for the braised pork belly, I rather liked it as it had a very distinctive flavour, but my friend wasn't as keen on it. To go with the mains, we had a seaweed salad, which was like none I've had before. Five styles of really different seaweed was presented, four of the five I liked. Really interesting to taste them back to back and see how different they were and the different flavours you can taste.
For desserts, they were both really different but both good. I think I got the better dessert of the peach with refreshing granita but my friend hates poached fruit so definitely thought she got the better dessert with the chocolate mousse and sesame ice cream. We were both happy thinking we got the better dish, so no food envy.
Service wise, our waitress was lovely and funny too. She made some jokes at the right time while helping us to navigate the menu and provide suggestions, such as the delicious sake I had. I love staff who can do this as they help to make the dining experience even better.
The ambiance in the restaurant is good, although as they always says, some seats are better than others. We were right in the corner that felt as if it was slightly disjointed from the rest of the room. There were three lonely tables there and I was envious of the people near the window. But you know, someone has to have the less than optimal tables at a restaurant so that's ok. Our seats meant we could be really loud and laugh and no one would notice.
All in all, I had a really great dining experience there and would recommend it for a special occasion, a casual meet up or a pre-show meal. Somehow the setup of the space lends itself to all these things, which is a real plus.
My friend and I dined courtesy of the restaurant.