Sake Restaurant and Bar
12 Argyle Street
The Rocks NSW 2000
Tel : +61 2 9259 5656
Fax : +61 2 9241 1613
Awarded One Chef Hat - The SMH Good Food Guide 2012-2013
License: Fully Licensed (no BYO)
Whether you’d like to wrap your lips around one of the most exclusive (and extensive) ranges of sake in Sydney or spectacular hot and cold Japanese fare by master Chef Shaun Presland (of Sushi e, Teppanyaki and Nobu fame), Saké Restaurant and Bar in The Rocks is guaranteed to satisfy.
To read more about Sake Restaurant & Bar go to the de Groots blog here.
Saké Restaurant & Bar is part of the heritage Argyle Precinct in The Rocks, close to Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s bus stop and only 5 minutes walk from Sydney’s CBD. Located on Argyle Street, the front doors are right next door to The Argyle Steps and Cut/bridge.
Offering a contemporary take on traditional Japanese cuisine, Saké Restaurant & Bar cleverly serves up inspiring dishes using the freshest ingredients and complemented by an exclusive range of Japanese sakes. Under the watchful direction of sushi guru Shaun Presland (Executive Chef) whose goal it is to constantly work with his team to create new flavours, Sake is sure to delight lovers of Japanese cuisine. Sake offers a number of options - you can order à la carte or from Saké's range of set banquet menus. A great option for late night diners in Sydney’s CBD, last night orders stretch through to 10:30pm each evening, and on Friday and Saturdays, the Saké Cocktail Bar offers a bar menu until 1.30am. The atmosphere at Saké is always buzzy and the staff experienced and friendly, ensuring a welcoming and enjoyable visit.
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In 2009, Terry Durack reviewed Saké Restaurant & Bar, saying: “we now have our Nobu Sydney, only better”. Three years down the track, we have Nobu Perth and a mass of other big Japanese restaurant, which leads us to ask, is Saké Restaurant & Bar still that good? If you go by the fact that it has retained a Chef Hat every year since its opening, then yes. But is the ‘Hat Criteria’ what everyone still desires of their dining experience? The recent shift towards more casual and accessible bistro-style restaurants suggests otherwise. We decided to head to the historic Rocks to find out what Saké Restaurant & Bar offers in 2012. At the heart of Saké Restaurant & Bar is Executive Chef Shaun Presland, so a review would not be complete without a brief look at his career. A proud Queenslander, Shaun is now one of Australia’s pre-eminent chefs of Japanese cuisine. His career began in a Ryokan in the mountains of central Japan, where he crafted the skills of the traditional local cuisine. Returning to Australia, he joined the Merivale clan, setting up Sushi-e and later, Ivy Teppanyaki and Sushi Choo. He then headed to the Bahamas where he became executive sous-chef at one of the famous Nobu restaurants. Backed by the omnipotent The Bavarian Hospitality Group (BHG), Saké Restaurant & Bar was born in 2009 with Shaun as Executive Chef. 12 months later, the Sydney Saké was awarded a Chef’s Hat and Brisbane became the home for another Saké restaurant. The evolution of Saké is the ultimate restaurant success story.
If you want a traditional sushi bar, then Saké Restaurant & Bar is not for you. It is sleek and modern – with chefs scuttling around wearing red-and-white chequered bandanas and a menu that features popcorn chicken. With various dining spaces – including four exclusive dining rooms, communal banquet tables, sushi bar seating and also a traditional Japanese sunken table – Saké Restaurant & Bar is adaptable and dynamic. The staff, while efficient, border on being overbearing and pretentious. However, the menu will exceed the expectations of even the most fastidious lover of Modern Japanese cuisine. The kingfish and salmon sushi cannot be faulted, the miso marinated butterfish lettuce cups offer a refreshing Japanese take on san choy bow while the teriyaki Wagyu 7+ skewers is beyond tender. The spicy eggplant kushiyaki isn’t memorable however the ‘S express’ sushi roll, filled with scallops, seared salmon and spicy mayo, is the pinnacle of my Saké Restaurant & Bar appreciation.
Saké is ideal for stylish events and launches, private parties or corporate meetings and conferences. There are four different private dining rooms to choose from. The Bonsai private dining room seats 20 at a large communal table and has screened sliding doors for extra privacy. The Cherry and Blossom private dining rooms both seat 8 and are divided by slatted wooden walls that overlook the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. The Kampai private dining room comfortably seats 34 and can be divided into a number of different configurations to suit your individual needs.