Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sydney Restaurant Review: Sake Restaurant: 5 April 2011

For our [lucky] 13th wedding anniversary dinner I wanted to choose a special restaurant, preferably one that neither of us had been to.  Quay is definitely on the list, but after all the hoo-haa of the snow egg and Masterchef, the waiting list is a mile long and I just haven't been that organised.

Knowing @Chef_Ali was definitely a plus when it came to choosing the venue, however I'd independently heard great things about Sake Restaurant and knew it had recently won a chef's hat, so booked that and kept it a secret from Mr YourLocalMarkets.

And what a fab surprise it was.

From the moment we walked in, all the staff wished us Happy Anniversary.  Ahh, so nice to feel special.  The fit out of this restaurant screams fabulous, funky & delicious.  From the drums on the wall (above) to the art work, the exposed chunky wooden beams and wonderful open kitchen, I loved this restaurant from the word go.

We hadn't done any research on what to order so we just went with what sounded good and tried to steer away from anything that sounded like traditional sushi. So we ordered:

Wagyu new style (thin slices of wagyu beef lightly seared with hot oil and finished with ginger, chives and yuzu soy):

Tasty, incredibly tender and most definitely moreish.  The teeny tiny garnish of chives on top just added that extra ker-pow to the dish.  Perfect.

Then arrived some steamed prawn dumplings.  We didn't order these and sent them back, until they boomeranged and we discovered they were a little gift from the kitchen.  We had purposely not ordered anything traditional, but OMG!  Best prawn dumplings EVER! Pardon the dodgy iPhone photo.  Must learn: do not to move arm when taking photos!

These little guys were actually encased in a swirl of rice noodles rather than a sheet of rice noodle.  And the prawns were subtle and tender, much nicer than anything I've ever had at yum cha.

Next came the sashimi tacos (tuna and salmon sashimi filled baby tacos with chilled tomato salsa matched with Kozaemon Junmai "sake shots':

This was my favourite dish for the night.  Tender, soft, crunchy, flavoursome.  They were even topped with.... wait for it... raw spanish onion and you won't believe it, but the spanish onion actually tasted like a real spanish onion, with a very mild onion flavour.  Not like those monstrosities from the supermarket that just taste like a normal onion.  [Onion rant over now] 

I would go back just to have these alone.  And the sake was amazing, the top of the shot glass was encrusted with sugar.  Perfecto!

Then came the tonkatsu cups (4 pieces of panko-fried pork belly & spring onion bites, served in lettuce cups with mustard miso and Japanese barbeque sauce.

Yummy, but they were a little too deep fried and as a massive pork belly lover, weren't porky enough for me.  They were more like a (dutch fritter).

Next on the list was the sashimi plate.

All of the fish was amazingly fresh and firm, but melt-in-your-mouth soft. I must admit I'm a little over the sashimi at those conveyor belt sushi places being all washed/thawed out.  This sashimi was straight out of the ocean.  My favourite, which I have never eaten before as sashimi?  The scallop.  Incredible.

The next dish to arrive was ocean trout, which had been pan-seared served with edamame puree and Asian mushrooms tossed in butter soy. Delicious the edamame puree being a delightfully creamy counterpoint (in colour, texture and flavour) to the rest of the dish.  The seared edge of the salmon was slightly crunchy whilst the inside remained a soft medium-rare.  Mmmm.  Tummy starting to fill up now.

Our final savoury dish was the miso-cream scallops, pan seared with baby corn, asparagus, shitake mushrooms & yuzu miso cream.  Heavenly.  Ali made this dish.  What a talented young chef!

I'm not sure how I managed to find a secret pocket of my tummy to squeeze in dessert, but like with most things, I managed to do it with some effort.  Luckily the Russian Creme dessert was really light, kind of like eating nothing, but far sweeter and tastier!

I can't recommend Sake more highly.  The food, service & ambience was off the richter.  We've already pencilled-in our favourite sake-drinking friends for a night out in the near future and I can't wait to return to try some other dishes.

Sake Restaurant & Bar
12 Argyle St
The Rocks
Tel: +61 2 9259 5656


  1. I was trying to find a different place to have dinner and doing some seaching on the net and came across Sake. I then looked for reviews and was so delighted to find this review on this site as I am a friend of Your Local Markets! I trust your tast so Im going to book it and let you know! Great descriptions and pics, I now know exactly what to order! Suzi Q xxx

  2. Thanks Suzi Q!! Hope you enjoy, I can't imagine that you won't. Let us know how you go xxx

  3. nice, I guess I will visit it


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