The only place we could get a table on a Saturday night without a reservation. Perfect, minimal, understated Japanese.
I was in Sydney for a conference and hadn’t had the foresight to plan every meal for the three days of my trip. After an hour of trekking around the Rocks, my phone battery running low from all my frenzied Urbanspoon researching, and getting knocked back from place after place (not once, not twice, three times!!), we finally managed to get in at Sake.
Sake is, in the absence of any other words that will do it justice, simply awesome.
I felt a bit like I’d entered some sort of futuristic ubercool William Gibson-esque novel. This is what 2011 was meant to look like! If only I’d thought to dress in more black.
The entry is up a set of stairs into the reception, with a giant sake bottle repository on the left, and a backlit blue neon bar- which gets quite packed and buzzy later in the night. The dining area itself is down some stairs, which open up into a huge, quite unexpected space.
The kitchen area itself is open, and circumscribed by a wooden bar counter, which is where we were happily seated. Incidentally, this gave us a great view of all the food prep- quite exciting, with lots of flame torch and chopping action- with the added benefit of the chefs serving the food directly to you. Open kitchens in restaurant designs often bring something extra to the dining experience, a little bit of behind-the-scenes, voyeuristic thrill. And you get to see when the chefs screw up, which is fun. I liked how it was done at Sake particularly, as the storage fridges, the washing up guy, everything was on display. Dinner and a show!
The cutlery and tableware was simple. Wooden snap-off chopsticks, ceramic asymmetric Japanese inspired plates. I really loved the muted lighting and dark wood. I thought the wall of sake barrels were quite cool, too, and were used throughout the night for photo ops by all the diners.
The food was pretty faultless.We had super fresh sashimi, and my dessert was very exciting- frozen Yuzu souffle, with this tasty tasty miso caramel sauce. If you like non-sweet desserts, I definitely recommend it. And the service was fantastic, there wasn’t a trace of the snobbiness we’d grown accustomed to during our trip.
Oh, and definitely visit the bathrooms during the night! Very cool.