Silky Sake Carving its Unique Identity in Melbourne
Sake Melbourne is related to its Sydney sister but is forging its own unique identity in Melbourne. Chef Wayne Brown is bringing his philosophy to the fine delicate dining with extraordinary technique and signature dishes that sing. The World Loves Melbourne (David and Mario) was invited to sample some recent changes in menu with Chef Wayne introducing new dishes gradually. Sake Melbourne is a top notch dining destination with superb ambience by the Yarra, a plethora of signature dishes, friendly attention to detail service, and a great knowledge of all things sake wine. Also check out our Best Japanese Restaurants in Melbourne.
Sake provides attention to detail in service including a Sake Sommelier (who also poured us a delightful clean tasting Japanese ale).
Sake is a house of modern dining, including on trend in that all dishes we experienced were able to be shared. Edamame is a perfect start to a meal with lightly salted soy beans in the pod. Of course you don't consume the bean skins, but just pop the pod, with a small bowl nearby for the skins.
Sake is a class dining destination, and has alluring spaces such as the main dining section including booths, stools along the bar watching the skilled chefs, and private dining upstairs.
Kingfish Jalapeno is a sashimi signature dish and great example of fusion done right. This is a delicate dish with tasty sections of Kingfish with the heat hit of jalapeno, flourish of coriander, and delectable yuzu soy surrounding.
Steamed Prawn Dumplings have been a long term favourite at Sake, 6 pieces of Chinese inspired shumai. Again, the dumplings are delicate, with a rewarding hit of soup and prawn inside, and accompanying spicy ponzu.
Melbourne seems to be in the grip of a soft shell crab revolution. This offering of Spider Maki featuring fried spider like soft shell crab, cucumber, mayo, masago and chives, is delicate and delightful. Spider Maki with soft shell crab is a popular Japanese dish but Sake has brought a modern twist in its presentation (and easy to share). The battered fried soft shell crab is perfectly cooked, and the mayo with masago roe is the perfect accompaniment.
Sake also steps up when it comes to cocktails. Presentation was first class, including this vodka cocktail (Mario is a whisky and vodka man).
Sake boasts modern decor and artwork, in line with the sophistication of the surrounding arts precinct.
The World Loves Melbourne also enjoyed this delightful Gin cocktail with tasty elderflower on the outside of the glass.
Sake excels with this superbly cooked Wagyu Grade 7 dish with radish and crackling. The plating was artistic in line with other dishes. Sake definitely belongs in the arts precinct! A signature dish and highlight.
The evening too another pleasant twist when the Sake Sommelier returned to offer exclusive Omachi Sake, Kozaemon from Gifu. The omachi rice sake is smooth as it gets with a slight sweetness, and nashi pear notes. We settled in to this although it can creep up on you at around 15% proof.
Says the website, "At Saké Restaurant & Bar, it’s not wines that we match to the menu – it’s sake. To take your dining experience to the next level of Japanese authenticity, you can choose to match your meal to our venue’s namesake. With all staff trained in the art of sake appreciation via our Sake Academy, they are well versed to take you on a tasty tour of the complex Japanese beverage. Featuring an exclusive range of Kozaemon sakes from Nakashima, a 300-year-old boutique brewery in the Japanese mountains, there really is no better place to wet your whistle, Saké style."
Pan seared ocean barramundi, featuring cone bay ocean barramundi pan seared and finished with butter soy on sweet ponzu buckwheat & tomato salsa. This dish sang with silky melt in your mouth sweet barramundi, highlighted by the crispy seared skin. Accompaniments were sophisticated and perfect for the dish with the sweet ponzu buckwheat resonating and the salsa a pleasant surprise.
Wayne Brown Executive Chef came out from the kitchen to chat with The World Loves Melbourne. Passionate and engaging Wayne said he was introducing his own mark on the popular Japanese restaurant and introducing some new dishes. Says the website, "Wayne is thrilled to have rejoined the Saké family, having worked in the Sydney venue in 2013. Brown’s experience spans exceptional international restaurants, including Sydney’s Three-Hatted Quay, Michelin-Starred Waku Ghin and Guy Savoy restaurants in Singapore and Two-Hatted The Stokehouse.
As well as his experience in Australia and Singapore, Brown worked as a pastry chef at Two Rooms Bar & Grill in Tokyo, preparing traditional and contemporary Japanese desserts. Most recently, Brown has served as Head Chef at Flaming Olive Restaurant & Bar, where he has been responsible for seasonable menu planning, demonstrating creative culinary creations, and leading a strong team. Passionate about seasonal produce and balanced flavours, Wayne is excited to bring his love of Japanese cuisine to guests at Hamer Hall."
Sake boasts top Japanese chefs working in an open kitchen. As you walk past them they greet you in Japanese (nice touch). The World Loves Melbourne could only respond with "Konichiwa!"
Sake boasts dreamy sweeping views of the Yarra precinct. Also enjoy their outdoor bar area with a casual engaging dining experience next to the River and cosmopolitan passers by.
Sake is also known for its top notch sushi...
The silky class of Sake came again to the fore with this spectacular dessert featuring Black sesame. A masterpiece.
Also impressive is the Momo Umeshu with poached peach, candy shards and shaved granita.
Sake is an iconic restaurant that gives diners an exceptional Japanese dining experience in the arts precinct.
Modern, innovative, yet approachable, Sake ticks the boxes for rewarding dining.
The World Loves Melbourne likes the fact Sake Melbourne has its own impressive identity and personality. Highly recommended.