Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sake Restaurant & Bar- The Rocks, Sydney

The first time Cheesecake Boy and I dined at Sake Restaurant & Bar it was one of our date nights and we ended up being rather tipsy after our meal.  Sometimes good law abiding citizens need to let their hair down too, but the problem was that Cheesecake Boy was the designated driver.  However, Cheesecake Boy came up with one of his ideas when he noticed the police station as we were walking back to his car.  Cheesecake Boy decided to ask the police officer to give him a breath test to determine if he was fine to drive home.  The police officer informed us that we were not the first to ask, but they were not allowed to perform the test under the circumstances.  This is how Cheesecake Boy and I ended up taking a nap in our car before heading home.

We really enjoyed our first visit, but wondered if our tipsiness contributed to heightening the experience that we had.  Since then we have been back to Sake Restaurant numerous times and we can confidently say that our initial experience was no fluke.  Sake Restaurant is home to our favourite sashimi in Sydney, and  as sashimi is one of Cheesecake Boy's favourite foods.  This is how we ended up here last Friday to celebrate  the end of the EOFY, but more importantly to kick start Cheesecake Boy's birthday weekend celebrations.  It was meant to be a surprise visit, but Cheesecake Boy can read me like a book at times.

We started off with drinks as usual.  I was in love with the Astro Boy cocktail here, but they no longer offer the Astro Boy anymore.  I thought my Satsuma Samura with  the house peach infused sake, mandarine Napoleon liqueur and Cloudy Bay Pelorus Vintage sparkling wine, was a great replacement.  Our fantastic waiter that night asked if I wanted to add a sparkling sugar cube in my cocktail too, and why not.  The sparkling sugar cube, fizzed away in my cocktail and added to the fun of my delightfully sweet and fruity concoction.  

Satsuma samurai (served straight up), $16

Cheesecake Boy ordered a Kirin beer, and he thought it was a good beer.  We also ordered a 250ml cafare of Yuho Junmai Mioya Ishikawa sake ($30), upon our waiter's recommendation.  However, we got carried away with enjoying our drinks that I overlooked taking a photo of our sake.  The sake was described as having subtle notes of apples, pears and cherry blossom with a woody, malty finish.  We found the sake to be wonderfully smooth and definitely had a malty aftertaste, it went down perhaps too easily.

Kirin beer, $9

Our must order of sashimi combo arrived first.  Cheesecake Boy and I really adore the sashimi here, and this combo is our favourite in Sydney.  After our first visit we thought we had been dreaming as we found the sashimi to be too fresh in a surreal way, but our second visit confirmed our dreams and the sashimi here is definitely that melt in your mouth kind without fail each time.

Seven different kinds of stunning sashimi are offered with the sashimi combo that consisted of salmon, mackerel, bonito, squid, kingfish, scallop and tuna.  I loved them all, but am partial to the mackerel and bonito sashimi.  If you truly love sashimi though, then you can't go pass the sashimi combo here.

Sashimi combo (18 pieces), $47

We ordered the scampi miso to keep us warm.  I was surprised with the whole scampi looking at me,  I have this thing against my food looking at me.  However, I found the little critter to be quite cute after a while, but was won over by its beautifully sweet flesh.  The scampi, daikon and spring onions in the broth was lovely, and the slightly lemon flavour of the sansho pepper really lifted the scampi miso soup.

Scampi miso, $13

The one sore point with Sake Restaurant for Cheesecake Boy and I is that we always feel underwhelmed after eating the sushi here.  However, we keep trying in case we hit the jackpot.  We have our fingers crossed that perhaps the spider maki and kingfish double crunch are going to strike gold with our taste buds.  I will admit that when our platter of sushi was served we were disappointed, as the sushi rolls seemed smaller and not as visually inspiring as per usual. 

Our platter of spider maki and kingfish double crunch

The spider maki with soft-shell crab, cucumber and mayonnaise was topped with tobiko and chives.  The soft-shell crab was nice and crispy, but to us it tasted like a fairly standard soft shell crab sushi roll, with the exception of the tiny fish roe and chive topping.

Spider maki, $18

We thought that the kingfish double crunch sounded different as it consisted of kingfish, jalapeno mayo, corriander, cucumber, tempura crunch (both inside and out side) that is topped with a sprinkling of sweet soy and spicy masago.  However, we found that all the ingredients overpowered the delicate kingfish.  I enjoyed the crunchiness of the tempura bits and the generous addition of the spicy fish roe was something new to me.

Kingfish double crunch, $15

We would usually order the popcorn shrimp main, which is Cheesecake Boy's favourite.  However, we wanted to try something different and leave room for dessert, so we decided to try some of the kushiyaki.  The kushiyaki are accompanied by either a choice of teriyaki or spicy anticucho sauce.  Cheesecake Boy and I heard spicy and went with the spicy anticucho sauce for our kushiyaki.  The grilled chicken and pork belly skewers were both wonderfully succulent and tender.  We loved the slightly spicy and citrus notes of the anticucho sauce. 

Chicken kushiyaki with spicy anticucho sauce, $10
Pork belly kushiyaki with spicy antisusho sauce, $10
Dessert menu

While we were waiting for our dessert we ordered some genmaicha, which is a green tea  blended with roasted brown rice tea.  Now, I usually don't like genmaicha as some blends include puff rice that gives the tea a popcorn flavour, which I truly detest.  However, this  blend of genmaicha was an exception due to the subtlety, and was lovely and comforting.

Genmaicha, $4

Now I couldn't go pass the obento box dessert, as I loved the idea of sampling different little morsels.  Even better is that this dessert was definitely perfect for sharing. 

Dessert bento box, $22

The chocolate cupcake had the texture of a fondant without the oozing chocolate centre.  I thought the Nashi pear gyoza was going to be my favourite, but it wasn't.  The gyoza was crisp and had a lovely soft and chunky Nashi pear filling, but we found that the passion fruit dipping sauce was not a good accompaniment for the gyoza and were much nicer simply plain.  The passion fruit dipping sauce on its own was lovely and sharp though.  To my surprise the green tea flavoured sticks filled with apple mousse was my favourite.  I loved the subtle hint of green tea of the crunchy matcha sticks with the sharp apple tones of the light as air mousse.  The addition of the apple fairy floss on top of the matcha sticks was wonderfully playful.

Nashi pear gyoza with passion fruit dipping sauce, chocolate cupcake and matcha apple mousse sticks

Cheesecake Boy loved the yuzu sorbet.  The sharp citrus notes of the sorbet was cleansing and beautifully refreshing.  It was the perfect end to our meal.

Yuzu sorbet

It was another enjoyable evening at Sake Restaurant & Bar.  We'll always come back for the sashimi combo and their huge range of sake.  There are definitely some hits and misses, but the fun vibe and attentive and friendly staff always brings us back.  Don't worry we learnt our lesson, and hailed a taxi home that night.

Dining away, Dumpling Girl.

Sake Restaurant & Bar
12 Argyle Street
The Rocks NSW 2000

Ph: (02) 9259 5656

Sake Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon


Jen said...

lol! You guys are such good citizens. The sashimi looks good and I'm impressed with the extensive dessert menu. I must say I love popcorn tasting genmaicha! ;)

Dolly said...

ive always passed this place but never tried.. the scampi soup looks pretty!!

Buggles and Squeak said...

Nice review. Your description of the sashimi had Buggles drooling. This has been on our hit list for a while, will get there....eventually.

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Jen, lol we're paranoid. I've seen too many drink driving matters in the local courts, and it's not worth it. I have plenty of popcorn tasting genmaicha at my place as Cheesecake Boy can't get enough of that stuff either :)

Hi Dolly, if you love Japanese I think Sake's good for a try at least once.

Hello Squeak, thanks :) The sashimi is really that good, sometimes better than the ones I can get at the fish market. Hopefully next time when Buggles needs a fix, you'll both get there then.

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

The sushi rolls have my mouth watering...! And absolutely love the scampi just lounging out of your miso soup - he looks rather relaxed, no? :)

Apple @Polkadotsandchopsticks said...

That scampi would creep me out lol. Might have to give this place a go though, been looking at a nice Japanese restaurant which serves green tea and has that sort of feel to it. Plus I'm dying to try that apple fairy floss!

joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

I adore the food here, especially the desserts! Must go back. :-)

Mel said...

That scampi looks like he's taking a bath - too funny! I'd like to try Sake, but the prices seem a bit too expensive for my wallet - especially when the sushi is not crash hot (that's my favourite Japanese food)!

How funny that the cops wouldn't take your breath test...seems weird doesn't it.

chocolatesuze said...

wow everything looks delish haha i have issues with my food looking at me too but ooh apple fairy floss yum!

Gastronomous Anonymous said...

YUM! everything looks fantastic... still havent been so will make my way there soon :)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hey Tina, lol after the initial shock of the scampi staring at me, it did look relaxed.

Hi Apple, I know what you mean by the scampi so eating it quickly and taking it away asap was the solution :) Definitely not enough of that fairy floss.

Hello Joey, I wanted the yuzu tart for dessert too, but was too full.

Hi MissPiggy, it is on the pricy side, but it's a fun place and some of the other food is right on.

Cheesecake Boy and I thought about it later, and I guess it came down to if the cop gave Cheesecake Boy the ok and then Cheesecake Boy went off and drank some more (which he wouldn't). If we then drove home and got caught for being over the limit, but claimed that the station cleared us. It may put the police in a compromised position. Comes back down to liability I guess, like so many things these days.

Hello Suze, I'm so glad you feel the same way about food with eyes, lol. The apple fairy floss was fantastic.

Hey Gastronomous Anonymous, I have to admit I am a bit surprised you have not been here yet, as usually you are so quick :) Hope you have a great time like we did.

Joseph said...

I like the desert bento box! Hopefully will get to this place soon...

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Joseph, the dessert obento is a great concept and lots of fun too.

sugarpuffi said...

scampi miso! damn! how come i didnt see that last time i visited...nor did i see the dessert bento. i wouldve loved to try them both!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello sugarpuffi, the scampi miso was nice. I think the dessert obento is something new, first time I saw it too.

chopinandmysaucepan said...

I agree one should never drink and drive coz you might just spill your drink. The scampi looks like its having a good old lazy time in the spa!

Dumpling Girl said...

Lol, chopinand. Yes I guess that is another reason not to drink and drive. The scampi just doesn't know what's going to hit him soon, if only he knew :)