Food & Drink

Saké The Rocks Celebrates A Decade Of Japanese Decadence

Japanese dining never tasted so good.

Saké Restaurant & Bar is celebrating a decade of delivering signature Japanese food at its up-market location in The Rocks, Sydney since 2009.

In honour of its 10th birthday, Saké The Rocks will showcase the sensational, modern riff it brings to Japanese cuisine at an exclusive, seven-course dinner. The specially designed menu will be paired with champagne, wine and Japanese beverages and will be held on Wednesday, 16 October at $179 per person.

The event will be hosted by Saké chefs and brothers Yosuke Hatanaka and Shimpei Hatanaka. Yosuke is the Brand Culinary Chef for Saké Restaurant & Bar, while Shimpei is the Executive Chef at Saké Hamer Hall and Saké Flinders Lane. Held in Saké The Rocks’ upper-level, private dining room – a stylish ensemble of sandstone, heritage timber and modern décor – 40 guests will be wooed with seven exquisite dishes that represent some of Saké’s biggest hits over the past 10 years.

The experience

Hunter and Bligh were lucky enough to get a taste of this menu at an intimate dinner on 2 October, and we can humbly say that the courses match the vibrant experience that is expected at Saké The Rocks. It’s an exclusive menu that you’ll not find anywhere else.

The evening begins with a unique entree, served up in a classic champagne coupe and matched with NV Ruinart Rosé Brut. It’s an ocean trout and scallop tartar. The subtle, delicate flavours swim around the palate and become wonderfully infused with the paired sparkling rosé.

Next up is one of our favourite dishes of the evening, snapper tiradito. It’s a refreshing palate cleanser that leaves a nice pinch at the end thanks to a tiny dollop of rocoto chilli.

No Japanese dinner would be complete without a bamboo steamer, which the next dish is served in. Grouper kaburamushi, served with radish meringue, mushrooms and thickened dashi, brings something different to the palate, especially when it’s matched with 2018 Grace Gris de Koshu, a dry white that originates from Yamanashi, Japan.

The menu edges slowly and gracefully towards the heartier dishes, with kingfish tempura next on the agenda. The crunch is subtle but well noted, bringing a vibrant texture to the accompanying spicy roe, coriander and garlic yuzu butter ponzu. The paired wine is a local drop originating from Canberra. A 2017 Ravensworth ‘Seven Months’ Pinot Gris Riesling.

The next dish takes a leap out of the water to something that rests on the surface: smoked duck served with edamame, mushrooms, buckwheat and yakiniku sauce. It’s soft and delicate consistency is well noted, enveloping the perky flavours surrounding the four small portions. This is enjoyed with the Victorian Pinot Noir, poured into a bulbous glass.

The dessert is soon upon us, and its name is quite intriguing. But before we get there, one last dish remains to be seen. It is nigiri, and for us sushi lovers it’s what we’ve been waiting for. Three wonderfully rested strips of nigiri lay on the plate, with a generous plump of wasabi nearby. They are scampi foie gras, akami zuke and seared salmon with lemon salt. Eat your way through as you sip some Amabuki Junmai Daiginjo 50, a saké from Saga, Japan.

Nothing can prepare you for what’s to come. The menu says dragon egg and your imagination goes wild with possibilities. And then it lands in front of you. Inside is a scoop of passionfruit ice cream, and the egg rests on a nut crumble. But before you dig in, the chef pours over some warm miso caramel to melt the egg down. It is sickly sweet, a perfect way to end an evening.

The full birthday menu is below:

Dish 1: Ocean trout and scallop tartar / with trout roe, avocado, coriander and orange truffle ponzu
Matching beverage: NV Ruinart Rosé Brut – Reims, France

Dish 2: Snapper tiradito / with apple, cucumber, coriander, tomatoes, rocoto and yuzu white soy
Matching beverage: Mansakuno Hana Junmai Ginjo – Akita, Japan

Dish 3: Grouper kaburamushi / with radish meringue, mushrooms and thickened dashi
Matching beverage: 2018 Grace Gris de Koshu – Yamanashi, Japan

Dish 4: Kingfish tempura / with smoked batter, spicy roe, coriander and garlic yuzu butter ponzu
Matching beverage: 2017 Ravensworth ‘Seven Months’ Pinot Gris Riesling – Canberra District, NSW

Dish 5: Smoked duck / with edamame, mushrooms, buckwheat and yakiniku sauce
Matching beverage: 2018 Ten Minutes by Tractor ‘10X’ Pinot Noir – Mornington Peninsula, VIC

Dish 6: Nigiri / with scampi foie gras, akami zuke, seared salmon with lemon salt
Matching beverage: Amabuki Junmai Daiginjo 50 – Saga, Japan

Dish 7: Dragon egg / with passionfruit, nut crumble and miso caramel
Matching beverage: Choya Kokuto Umeshu – Osaka, Japan

The dinner will be held on Wednesday, 16 October at $179 per person. The event will start at 6:30pm. Email [email protected] to book your seat or call 02 9259 5656.

Bonus: Cocktail Masterclass

Fans of Saké The Rock’s beautiful cocktails can learn the secrets behind three of their classic hits – Hattori Hanzo, Miss Wednesday and Zen Old fashioned – at a masterclass on Saturday, 19 October, from 2pm-4pm. Guests will learn to recreate this charming trio and enjoy the cocktails with bar bites.

Email [email protected] to book your seat or call 02 9259 5656.

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