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Published July 18th 2012
Eagle Street Pier has become synonymous with fine dining and Friday night drinks. Enter Jellyfish, Sono or Bavarian Bier Cafe and you will be struggling for a seat. This same notion of fine dining is applied to the Asian fusion experience that is Sake Restaurant and Bar. A fairly fresh establishment, Sake is only nineteen months old and is the brainchild of Shaun Presland and Japanese head chef Shinichi Maeda. Sake opened its doors back in November 2010 and it has been a non-stop haven for Brisbane's upmarket bourgeoisie ever since.
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I decided to venture to this much talked about hot spot to see what all the fuss was about and in the process went all out to celebrate a loved ones birthday: Sake Banquet Style. This 8 course degustation highlighted the finest on offer from head chef Maeda and so began the culinary journey.
First up to begin the show was the ikura scallops, fresh Queensland half-shell scallops topped with ocean trout caviar & ponzu sauce. This splendid mouthful fused oceanic flavours delicately and the ocean trout caviar provided bursting beads of flavour.
Second was the traditional Japanese sashimi selection which on this occasion included King Fish and Ocean Trout. This serving was fresh and appetising and is what you expect from fresh sashimi. No disappointment here.
The wagyu dumplings, steamed wagyu & ginger dumplings, served with spicy ponzu dipping sauce were next to reach the table accompanied with a spicy dipping sauce. These were fairly large dumplings and were a mission to keep together as their steamed filling was bursting against the sheer pastry. The wagyu filling had quite an intense flavour that I wasn't expecting, but managed to conceal itself when teamed with the sauce and addition of soy.
With my tummy satisfied I realised we were not even halfway through the menu when the pork katsu panko-fried pork belly & spring onion bites, served with fresh tomato salsa & Japanese barbecue sauce appeared on the table. These were like mini nuggets only with a rather soft pork filing, not exactly 'crispy pork' as my assumptions were regarding the dish.
The fresh baby spinach topped with crispy satoimo chips & white-sesame dressing was a nice delight as it was flavoursome and appealing to see some greenery across the plate and allied well with the pan-seared ocean trout served with sweet pea purée & Asian mushrooms tossed in butter soy.
The grain-fed beef sirloin cooked medium-rare, served on sautéed onions & Japanese mushrooms, topped with soy & ginger sauce emerged on completion of the trout along with the miso soup, a staple with Japanese cuisine. Both were tasty with loads of flavour. The dashi based white miso soup with wakame seaweed, scallions & tofu was warm and inviting, whilst the beef was tender and juicy. Possibly one of the standouts along with the scallops and sashimi.
Onto the last and definitely a favourite for my sweet tooth was the dark chocolate bavarois served with white chocolate sand, white chocolate sorbet & chocolate liqueur jelly. This was a delectable finale to the banquet and the liqueur jelly was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It is safe to say there was nothing left on my plate ten minutes into its unveiling.
Overall the dishes were satisfying however I could have done without the ocean trout (purely my personal dislike) and the pork katsu. I would give out extra points for hospitality. Not only was the staff at Sake extremely nice and helpful throughout the meal, but once I managed to sneak away and highlight there was a birthday boy at the table they were quick to make the proper arrangements with celebratory additions to the concluding dessert.
I love this restaurant. I went there in april and i was very impressed with everything from the staff, the restaurant and the food. I am gluten intorlerant after we were seated i asked about gf options and with each dish that came out the staff told us exactly was it was and if it wasn't gf they bought out a modified version of that dish or one of equal importance. I have to give them a 10 out of 10 for all facets of my visit.