Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
03 8687 0775
Originally from Sydney, Sake was one of Monky’s favourite Japanese restaurant in Sydney. When it opened in Brisbane a few years ago, Monky was so excited and it also became one of the few restaurants both my MIL and my mum loves. There was even a night out with friends where we drank sake bombs and green tea umeshu. So imagine my sheer joy and excitement when Sake opened in Melbourne.
We went for lunch a few months after its opening just to let the staff settle in. I know it’s lunch but we ordered cocktails. Mine wanted Yuzu Sour $20 (right), but was uncertain about Johnny Walker Black and egg white in the cocktail, so I asked for another suggestion. The waitress suggested The Nobunaga $18, which has yuzu and campari in it. The sommelier even offered to up the yuzu flavour if it wasn’t enough, and I took up his offer. So far, so good.
Wagyu Tartar was next $26, and it was the best dish out of everything we ate that day. The beef just melts in your mouth, and the piece of sweet potato crisps add the textural contrast to the dish. Was $26 too much for 2 pieces of meat? Maybe but I thought it was somewhat worth it.
Chirashi salad $25 was next, the description said yuzu-dressed sashimi pieces, crunchy salad mix, thin noodles, sliced sushi omelette & flying fish roe, topped with daikon tsuma & tempura crunch. I love the tempura crunch and the general flavours, but unfortunately the yuzu-dressed sashimi pieces were crap. First of all I could barely taste the yuzu, secondly it felt as if they gave us all the sashimi offcuts- the sashimi was chewy and doesn’t taste too fresh.
The scallop sushi ($10) was once again not super fresh as I hoped, but it was OK.
The Spider Maki (soft shell crab roll) was disappointing though. For $18, the soft shell crab was more shell than crab, with a flavour of stale oil. I could get yummier soft shell crab roll at Kenzan for almost 1/4 of that price.
Sashimi Combo ($47) was our last main dish of the day. Although it’s beautifully presented, once again the sashimi selection was not as fresh as I hoped. Shoya and Sushi Aka Tombo has fresher fish and you just can’t compare it to Jamon Sushi.
Hubby said he was still hungry and wanted something hot, so he ordered the scampi miso soup $13. The soup was fantastic. It was warming, the scampi flavoured the soup nicely and it just made the meal complete. I wish I had order one too- it was awesome.
Dessert time! Obsessed with yuzu, there was no question that I would be ordering the Yuzu Tart. I then forced Hubby to order the molten chocolate cake just so we can “share”.
The Yuzu Tart came and I was instantly disappointed. I love a good crust in my tart but this looks like a skimpy filo pastry on top. And the pastry wasn’t even good. It tasted stale. The texture of the yuzu filling is also disappointing. It was too hard and quite gluggy and it just doesn’t really taste like yuzu. I left half of it uneaten. It was a sad sad end to my meal.
The molten chocolate cake, on the other hand, was perfect. The goma black sesame tuille had the perfect crunch and aroma, and the molten chocolate gushed out like lava and the flavours were rich and well balanced. I tried to eat more than a bite of Hubby’s cake but he virtually slapped my hand away and gobbled it all down. So unfortunately I only got a bite- but a bite is enough for me to think about it all the time since.
In terms of service, I felt that after four months their staff still seemed to be a bit tentative. The sommelier was an exception, but the wait staff kept forgetting what fish was served on the sashimi platter as well as elements on other dishes. However they were friendly and sincere which was fantastic.
All in all, Sake was not as good as I expected. Monkylicious said Sydney, the original store was the best. If that’s the case, unfortunately Brisbane’s Sake came second and Melbourne’s Sake came last. 6/10