Sake Restaurant & Bar, The Rocks

Was in Sydney over the weekend to visit family and see Vivid Sydney, I love this event, pretty lights everywhere! Anyways, since we were intending to do it backwards, starting in Pyrmont and working our way back to the Opera House, we decided to have dinner at Sake. I’ve never been to fancy shamncy Japanese before so I was pretty excited about this. We started early as they were opening up their kitchens from 5PM to cater for hungry Vivid goers.

Also wanted to mention before I forget, I was a big fan of how Western yet authentically Japanese it was. A heavily Japanese influenced food and bar menu, as well as the atmosphere and decor. Yet there was the Western fancy table service. It worked surprisingly well!

Sake’s menu is designed for sharing, so we got a couple of things to try. Decided to stay away from the sushi rolls as I wanted to try out new, weird and wonderful dishes and the rolls are quite filling.

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First up we got the Sashimi tacos ($19), tuna and salmon sashimi filled baby tacos with chilled tomato salsa matched with kozaemon junmai sake shots. Mexican crispy taco shells filled with fresh tuna and salmon sashimi, this was topped with a very mild chilli salsa as the menu listing kind of points out. Anyway, this was great, the salsa was light and it didn’t take away from the light flavours of the raw dish instead it gave the fish some sweetness and broke up the pure fish flavours. The taco shells were crispy, giving the dish a lovely crunch. This was just a really fun way to have sashimi. The sake was nice and sweet, not overly strong and went well with the raw fish.

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Second up, the Beef Tataki ($21), seared tenderloin, garlic chips, snow pea sprouts and tataki sauce. Thinly sliced beef coupled with deep fried garlic chips for flavour and cherry tomatoes for sweetness. I really liked this dish but I did find the tataki sauce very salty, almost unbearably so. But I made it work, by eating the beef along with some rice, it was like eating a flavoursome beef satay.

This was my first time trying tataki, I still definitely prefer tartare over this and carpaccio as the somewhat raw beef king. Anyways a little sad I didn’t get to try the tartate at Sake, saw a couple of tables get it and it looked really pretty.

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Next up, the Tuna ceviche ($24), raw tuna with lemon dressing, finished with coriander, jalapeño chilli, tomato & crunchy fried onion. I really liked this, I’m in a bit of a ceviche phase, trying out ceviches whenever I see them on a menu. This was definitely up there. Really light, fresh and not overly sour or tangy. The tomato, pumpkin, cucumber and lettuce also gave it lots of additional flavours, elements and textures. My favourite part of this dish was the deep fried onions. Gave it some extra onion flavours and that crispy crunchiness, which is very different to the crunchy texture that the cucumber gives the dish. Big fan of this dish, wish more places would add a bit of crispy fried onions to their ceviches.

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For our first main plate, we got the Wagyu teriyaki ($39) wagyu beef cooked medium rare, served on sautéed shiitake & buckwheat with yakiniku sauce. The sides to this dish weren’t great, and I didn’t really care for them, they were bland and the white foamy looking thing had a weird texture and didn’t taste fantastic. Lucky the wagyu beef was delicious and this definitely saved the dish. The meat was cooked perfectly, really soft, it practically melted in your mouth. The meat was coated in a light teriyaki sauce which gave it great flavour but wasn’t too heavy and dark that it overwhelmed the whole dish and killed the delicious meaty flavours of the wagyu beef.

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For our second main plate, we got the Buta no kakuni ($30), 12 hour braised pork belly, daikon radish, 64C hens egg and truffle oil scallions. This was kind of average, we only ordered it because of the 64C egg and we a bit of a weakness for all degree eggs. The egg itself was delicious, gooey and creamy, big fan of that. The pork was pretty average, it wasn’t bad, it was actually really nice, it just wasn’t $30 for a small serving sort of nice. Also wasn’t a big fan of the baked radish, would have preferred some starchy potato but thats just a preference thing. This dish was nice but it was just somewhat average and not very exciting. I would have preferred a more exciting main plate or another two small plates, like the tartare or even the sushis which looked really good in hindsight.

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Originally we weren’t planning to order any drinks, I usually only really like plum wine and find sake a little too harsh and dry tasting. However the waiter managed to persuade us to try some sake, we ended up picking the Amabuki strawberry sake ($39 small carafe). This looked like the sweetest sake from their menu so we thought it’d be a good introduction to it all. The description of strawberry flavours were also really promising. Sadly, it was still pretty dry and I couldn’t taste any strawberries or fruitiness anywhere! I think I just don’t really like sake, should have known better, I’m not a dry wine kind of person yet. Definitely should have gotten one of those awesome looking cocktails.

Sake was a really fun dining experience, would like to go back and try some of their other awesome looking menu items, especially some of the other small share plates. Very glad they opened up earlier for Vivid and their food service was amazingly fast. I don’t think I’ve ever had all my food served so quickly at a restaurant before! Big thumbs up for that, especially if you have plans after dinner like checking out Vivid Sydney 🙂

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Saké Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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