Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sake Restaurant & Bar

For one of my dear friends' birthday, we went to Sake Restaurant & Bar located at the Rocks. We had a late reservation at 8 PM and were famished when we arrived at Circular Quay. Resisting the sweet temptations of the huge Copenhagen ice cream cones so many people were happily eating, we quickly made our way to Sake to quell our poor bellies.

I've heard of this place before but never read any blog posts on it so I was pleasantly surprised when I entered through the glass doors. The bar area is separated by the restaurant by a couple of steps and on the left hand side as you enter through the doors, there is a huge wall stacked with sake bottles from top to bottom. They must have not heard or seen us come in because it took them a while for them to acknowledge us. We waited at the bar area, skimming through the cocktail list while they prepared our table. The kitchen was an open kitchen so you could see the chefs still busily at work and the sound of sizzling was enough to make us salivate.

Soon afterwards, we were lead to our table next to the nicely lit, flowerly wall. The service was cordial and prompt, with food arriving very quickly after we ordered. We were very happy with how fast the food arrived as we were all starving by this point. The cocktails we ordered beforehand were beautiful. I got the Origami Tiger while my friends got the Yakult Yakuza, Shimpei San, and the Bankai. The names were all so unique as were the ingredients. Mine had elderflower cordial which was sweet and hid the taste of alcohol very well. The rest were all sweet and delicious - perfect for us girls, except Yakult Yakuza was a tad bit strong. We expected the sweet yakult flavour but on an empty stomach, it was a bit difficult to drink.

Despite the fact that it was a late Sunday night, there were many people still ordering and eating. The waiter informed us that it was a tapas dining style but the food portions were just right, maybe a bit too much. My friend insisted we eat the popcorn shrimp after seeing many blog posts about it. We ordered the popcorn shrimp, tonkatsu cups, sashimi tacos, 2 pork belly kushiyaki (one with classic teriyaki sauce and one with spicy anticucho sauce), and kingfish double crunch cut rolls to start off with.

Oh where do I even begin? Every bite had us whipped into the flavour, every one of us with either our eyes closed in deep appreciation or wide eyed, wondering if this was what food from heaven tasted like. The tonkatsu cups were average though and there was nothing special about it. The sashimi tacos were new and we thought we should try it. The tuna and salmon were very fresh and the sake was sweet and not overwhelming. It actually enhanced the fishy flavour if you drink it afterwards. The popcorn shrimp was a substantial size and the spicy mayo coating was just the right amount of spiciness to battle out the creamy mayonnaise. It literally popped in our mouths and the prawn was so juicy. It was almost fun eating it!

The pork belly kushiyaki were tender and succulent. I love the fat on pork belly and there was athick layer of it, which I enjoyed very much! Personally, I enjoyed the teriyaki better than the spicy anticucho one, which is a South American paste according to the waiter. We were too engrossed in the flavour and forgot the take a photo for this one! I think the highlight of the meal were the rolls. The kingfish double crunch rolls look simple but don't be fooled. The kingfish was fresh and each roll had a big chunk of it in the middle. It was chewy yet soft, and it was so fresh that it felt like it was caught just then.

However, this was not enough to satisfy our food babies and we ordered kingfish jalepeno and the S express rolls. The sauce in kingfish jalepeno could have been more subtle to bring out the full kingfish flavour and the jalepeno wasn't too bad in balancing out the saltiness. It's not something I would order again though since the other dishes were so much more appetizing than this. The S express, now this one was the clear winner of the night. Seared salmon is one of my greatest food weaknesses. I just melt with that smoky flavour and this roll didn't fail to bring out my 'foodgasm' face. The dash of sweet sauce and the plump scallops in the middle were welcome additions on top of the lovely salmon. I wasn't sure what witlof was but I'm guessing it's that mini cabbage leaf standing behind each roll. I carefully scooped it up on the leaf and shoved it into my mouth, slowly chewing through my food and savouring each taste and texture. It was over almost too quickly but it was nearly closing time so we hurriedly ordered dessert.

We may have had a feast but there's always more room for dessert. It's like we have a separate
dessert stomach. For dessert, we ordered 2 chocolate fondants, buttermilk pannacotta with raspberry coulis, and the yuzu tart. The chocolate fondant was moist and the chocolaty liquid oozed out of its shell when we impatiently broke it with our spoons. The white sesame ice cream was just amazing and complemented the sweetness of the chocolate perfectly. The yuzu tart was sweet and sour and the pannacotta was soft and creamy. We found a hair in ours so they replaced it with a new one but even then our sole focuses were on the chocolate fondants. Greedily, we finished all our dessert and even scraped clean the pistachio crumbs that were scattered on the plate. We do love our sweets :)

We wanted to grab Copenhagen afterwards but sadly, it was closed and the Rocks was deserted at the time. We weren't too fussed because we were still in a state of euphoria, grinning from ear to ear. A night out with the gals is always fun and ends happy with a full and content stomach!

x Ash

Sake Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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