Sake Flinders Lane
Australia’s own masters of contemporary Japanese dining have welcomed a new culinary hotspot to their growing brood.
With eateries planted across the country, the Saké stable has made quite the name for itself over the years — and it shows little sign of slowing. The newest member of the family — an establishment on Flinders Lane — launched mid-April, with two more concept venues set to be unveiled in Sydney and Melbourne over the coming months.
This latest incarnation takes over the former digs of the short-lived Woody P, and looks set to steal a good chunk of Chin Chin's hungry perma-queues. The space boasts that trademark Saké wow-factor, incorporating a chic designer fit-out and sleek open kitchen. There are, however, plenty of off-script touches, so don't go expecting another Hamer Hall or Double Bay.
This version has a dedicated sushi bar, where you can get a peek at some crazy knife skills, as well as a moody basement cocktail lounge. Down here, the vibes are high; with splashes of neon, an impeccable selection of house-infused shochu and weekend DJ sets, this subterranean space screams with hopes of being a late-night haunt. Throw in the fact that you can grab a great bowl of ramen up until 2am, and it looks clear that GoGo Bar is in for some stiff competition.
Outside of party o'clock though, it's the Japanese fare that's the star of the show. This time around, Jean Paul Lourdes is on the pans, serving a menu that fuses modern technique with traditional Japanese flavours. Saké favourites like the chicken karaage ($17) and vegetable tempura ($16) make a cameo appearance, while newcomers include the likes of chicken yakitori ($14) and a superb beef tataki, laced with snow pea sprouts and cherry tomato ($24).
Likely to charm even the most staunch of veggie haters is the house salad topped with wakame ($12). Delicate sashimi and sushi rolls are textbook perfect, while an artisanal miso, with cured egg yolk and one-year-old onion, has a depth of flavour that'll just about blow your mind ($4). Granted, most dishes are more clever than familiar — though in Lourdes' capable hands, there's no need for trepidation.
To match it all, you'll find a sophisticated drinks list with a hefty selection of the restaurant's namesake spirit starring alongside clever cocktails, Japanese craft beer, whisky flights and a considered wine list.
And with service as hard to fault as the food coming out of the kitchen, this one deserves to be put on high rotation, whether for smart business lunches, dinner dates or late-night cocktails and fun times down below.