Watching the sun go down over Manly Beach is pretty special. They make postcards about that kind of stuff. And while it's certainly a lovely thing to do when you find yourself in the Northern Beaches suburb, we recommend you stray away from the beachfront and make your way to Pittwater Road for a sundown of a different kind. A sushi sunset!
At Sunset Sabi, food is done in a Japanese izakaya style, but it sure ain't traditional. Ingredients like jalapeño, bacon, parmesan and Kettle chips (the chilli ones) all make their way into sushi rolls and other bite-sized morsels. It's more of an LA take on Japanese food, if anything — not that that's a bad thing. It just means you get those bold, unabashed flavour clashes alongside fancy (but slightly watery) cocktails, high bar seating and a wall display of illuminated Japanese advertisements. Instead of being garish, these kitschy cultural tokens give the bar a good glow. The signage is interestingly (if not coincidentally) a little reminiscent of Melbourne's Supernormal.
Try the deep fried rice balls — they're like a mayo-covered, chewier version of arancini ($10 for two) — and the predictably moreish popcorn fried chicken with yuzu dipping sauce ($12). From there the menu veers into traditional dishes like gyoza, okonomiyaki and soba noodles, and also into fusion fancies such as beef tacos and a teeth-gluing caramel miso popcorn. You really must order that one.
The raw stuff keeps it interesting with The French Roll, containing salmon, butter pickles, Kettle chilli chips and French onion dip ($14), and a plate of salmon sashimi topped with jalapeño cream, white onion, tomato and baby shiso ($14). These ones were interesting to crunch and savour, but the slightly more straight sweet heat roll with spicy tuna, cucumber, green beans and avocado inside, and tuna, white onion, shallots, chilli roe with sabi'q sauce on the outside was more of a winner ($18 for eight pieces).
Like all things though, the sun has to set on them. Unfortunately for Sunset Sabi, their final ray of light is a bit of a disappointing one; after being raved about by the waitstaff, the matcha white chocolate and strawberry-filled sweet potato doughnut dessert was a bit lacklustre and underwhelming. So skip dessert, order the caramel popcorn instead, and send the evening off while picking bits of hardened sugar out from between your teeth.