The arts precinct just keeps getting better when it comes to dining out. Sake Restaurant & Bar has set up shop downstairs at Hamer Hall. Starting in Sydney and Brisbane, Sake has finally brought its sharing philosophy, extensive cocktail list and beautiful interior south.
Found along the riverside, Sake made a smart move installing floor-to-ceiling windows on one side. Interior design house Luchetti Krelle has utilised the whole space beautifully. Inside, there are small booths perfect for intimate dinners, a string of bar seating perfect for watching the action and outdoor seats that are just asking for summer to hurry up.
The menu is deigned to share, a direction many a new restaurant is taking. Start with miso-marinated Patagonian toothfish, served in fresh lettuce cups ($20 for four) or sashimi tacos filled with salmon and tomato salsa served with sake shots ($17 for two). For mains, the teriyaki wagyu served with shiitake mushrooms and buckwheat in a yakiniku sauce ($39) is cooked rare and packs a real flavour, while the popcorn shrimp served with a creamy spicy sauce ($29) is ridiculously moreish.
Sushi and sashimi are given their own menu here. The kingfish served with yuzu soy, jalapeno slices and coriander is fresh and cuts like butter, while you can also head over to sushi maki territory and try the spider maki cut roll of fried soft-shell crab, cucumber, mayonnaise and chives ($18).
The cocktail list takes inspiration from Japanese ingredients. The Utsukushi Heru, for instance, is a mix of Tekkan Shochu, Pama pomegranate liqueur, creme de violet and pineapple juice ($18). The beer list is small but sees the likes of Little Creatures Bright Ale ($12) and Yebisu ($12). It's no surprise that the sake menu is extensive. It includes sake bombs — Sapporo with a shot of sake ($10), premium sake like the Yuho, Homare Daiginjo ($132 a bottle) and warm sake like the Kozaemon House Honjozo ($6.50). The wine list is just as long as the sake list. Start with a glass of Ruinart non-vintage Brut from Reims, France ($24 a glass). Perhaps move to an Ocean Eight Pinot Gris from Mornington Peninsula ($16 a glass) and end up with Pizzini Sangiovese Shiraz from the King Valley ($49 a bottle).
This is the perfect place for a plate of sashimi, a sip of sake and a killer view. As the sun goes down and the lights turn on, the city looks pretty good from Sake.