Sake is a contemporary Japanese restaurant, in the middle-upper price range. It was our top favourite in Sydney but has now moved down to our top 10 list. I'll share what we had eaten first and talk about the vibe / price after.
This was our second favourite dish on the menu, the "nori crisps with tuna, kingfish, togarashi and sesame dressing". It was a very interesting dish, with the use of a flavourful and crunchy seaweed cracker and some marinated sashimi to top it off. It was a perfect blend of balanced flavours, like an umami version of a cheese board. They were bite size and if we could order 10 of these, we would.
This was their "new style sashimi with salmon, snapper, scallop, hot seasme oil and ponzu". It was a very extravagant and pretty twist to the normal sashimi dish that you would normally get. The combination of salmon & snapper really washed down the tang of the ponzu dressing. The scallop was creamy and the roe added a burst of freshness.
These "spicy pork gyoza with pickled cabbage" weren't anything special, especially considering they were $5 each. They were soft and tasteful but for the price, we would not get them again. They did make a nice break and refreshed our palates from all the fish.
If you love Taiwanese popcorn chicken, this is the dish you should definitely order. This was their "popcorn shrimp, yuzu, chilli mayonnaise". The shrimp was nicely battered and fried, with no overpowering oily taste to them, and topped off with some bomb-ass mayo that brought everything together.
These were Mick's favourite, the "shumai, a steamed prawn dumpling with spicy ponzu". The creativeness of this dish is what brings him back with cravings for Sake every time. The shredded prawn used was really well done and delicately put together to make this taste sooo amazing. It was soft with a slight chewy texture, like eating a freshly shredded flavourful prawn har gow.
This "miso glazed 'glacier 51' toothfish with den miso and pickled diakon" took a while to come out but goddamn, it was worth the wait. This photo does not do the taste justice because it doesn't look that appealing at all but when we bit into it, the flavours were amazing and blew our minds. We could taste the freshness of the fish and the subtle seasoned miso flavour. The fish skin was cooked just right with a fine crunchy texture to it. And the diakon really complimented the fish, resetting our palate so each taste felt like a new delicious experience. Would we pay $58 for it again though? Maybe..
The "buta no kakuni, braised pork belly with onsen egg and hot mustard" was just a modern take on the Chinese braised pork. The pork was a nice cut with a standard soy taste. The onsen egg was a great addition to the plate as it mellowed out the somewhat overwhelming flavours of the pork fat, however, compared to the price of the other main, this dish did great for $28.
Ah, the famous "Dragon egg" with its instagram worthy dry ice reveal. Does it taste as amazing as it look? Not really. It really was just a cadbury white chocolate egg with the "roasted banana, hazelnut, banana cream" hidden inside. The dish felt quite dry and took a few encouraging deep breaths to finish. The miso caramel on the bottom was what made the dish worth it. We do appreciate the fine art of the egg and the delicacy of it. We certainly could never pull this off.
Creme brulee is one of Mick's personal favourite desserts so it can be difficult for him not to be bias but this "creme brulee, miso caramel and sesame tuile" did hit the spot for him. We recommend this dish because it has a sweet creaminess and yet mild approach to your palate after such an intense session of umami flavour. We would pick it over the dragon egg any day.
Now moving on to the vibe, I would describe it as awkward, which I have summed to 2 factors: the fast pace of the restaurant and the close proximity seating arrangement. We have eaten here a few times, usually twice a year, and the vibe is the same due to how busy they always are. There has been times where our dishes took longer than usual (say 15-30 mins) in between each other to arrive. And once we've finished eating, someone has already collected it before we could lick the sauce (hey, I'm paying $30 a dish, I'm eating every drop). It made us feel rushed and pushed to eat faster.
Sake is a fancier restaurant than most. The price is steep so many couples do consider it as a 'fine dining' restaurant but due to how close the tables are set, it felt like sitting in a casual, tight restaurant. We would still go back but there are other restaurants we need to tick off our list so it won't be for a while.
Thanks for reading, happy eating.