But who better to pilot us beginners than Grand Lafayette, an innovative Japanese-inspired restaurant tucked away in Clifton St Prahran.
The performance made one expect magic at first sip but instead, the result was like a magician's trick that backfired and spluttered. The heating of the sake was a ruse to hide the roughness of the drop. Grand Lafayette's sake flights, on the other hand, leave nothing but pleasure in your mouth.
Before our banquet owner Monique Wu placed the flight in front of us (some chilled and some at room temperature). She showed us each of the delightful bottles and gave us a few suggestions on food pairings.
The food at Grand Lafayette really is on a grand scale. Each dish is a showpiece of ingredients and innovative plating. Even a simple Bao is lifted to great heights with the precision of the fine presentation and ingredients such as soft shell crab and Ora King Salmon ($12).
Just as sake is a versatile drink Grand Lafayette is all things to all diners. As Monique explained, "many residents come down from the apartments above us for their dinner and might dine solo and just have one dish. Others come from all over Melbourne for a special night out."
The Feed Me option is 6 dishes per person ($88). Or the Premium Feed Me of 8 dishes for $118. Sushi party boards of 40 pieces are $128. Most of the dishes shown in this article are from the Feed Me option.
The flights cost $18 or $28 if you include the rare sake. You can book here.