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Grand Lafayette Sake Flights

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
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Invitation to enjoy the wonders of sake
Lafayette Grand, best Japanese Melbourne
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt


There are plenty of beer, cider and even whisky flights in Melbourne bars. But a sake flight? Sounds like a flight of fancy!

But who better to pilot us beginners than Grand Lafayette, an innovative Japanese-inspired restaurant tucked away in Clifton St Prahran.

Grand Lafayette is where East meets West. And the meridian is the epicurean best. Grand Lafayette's sake flights are the perfect way to reacquaint yourself with a drink you may not have fully appreciated until now. Like many of you, my sake experiences were from decades ago. I recall the ritual of pouring the heated liquid into small porcelain cups.

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.

Grand Lafayette sake flights
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt


But unlike wine, sake's lowish acidity enhances and does not overwhelm the flavours and textures of the food it accompanies. As the Japanese proverb goes, 'sake doesn't fight with food'. In other words, everything and anything goes.

Our Sake Flight

Grand Lafayette sake flights
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt


On offer was the chance to try a rare bottle of the highest grade of sake - Junmai Daiginjo made from Kikusui rice, a smooth, dry tipple that had an elegant aroma and a rich flavour. Junmai Daiginjoa paired well with the Agedashi Tofu ($17.50). The inside of which is silken and custardy with a crisp starch shell and then artfully dressed with sweet soya sauce and the incredible chewy texture of enoki mushrooms. The sake cut through the sweetness enhancing the umami flavour.

Grand Lafayette sake flights
Agedashi Tofu @nadinecresswellmyatt


Junmai Daiginjoa was also divine with the sashimi carpaccio ($29.50). The dish presented like Neptune's treasure chest in his underwater garden with ora king salmon, tuna tatami, kingfish, and scallop stunningly arranged and dotted with tiny flowers and segments of mandarin or perhaps Yuzo and a citrus-enhanced sauce.

Grand Lafayette sake flights
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt


Grand Lafayette sake flights
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt


Other glorious sakes in our flight included Kunizakari Yuzushu: A fruity Sake with 100% Japanese Yuzu. And Sayuri Creamy Sweet: with a hint of strawberry, and a rich creamy texture and taste. But my favourite was a Shiroi Litchi, a milk-based sake with overtones of lychee. This drop is sweet, milky fruity, and aromatic all in one.

Grand Lafayette sake flights
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt


It went with many of the dishes but I relished it with the desserts. We had the signature 'raindrop' cakes ($9) that have become an Insta sensation - a wobbly see-through dome moated by brown sugar. But the dessert we couldn't stop dipping into was Crispy Dango: little balls, Japanese dumplings on the end of tiny sticks in brown sugar syrup.

Grand Lafayette sake flights
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt


Grand Lafayette sake flights
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt


The Food

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).

Grand Lafayette sake flights
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt


Grand Lafayette

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.

Grand Lafayette
Photo credit Grand Lafayette Facebook


Whatever kind of diner you are there is plenty of space and air here with lofty ceilings and seating for up to 100 people beneath the artist Danielle Weber adorned walls.

The flights cost $18 or $28 if you include the rare sake. You can book here.

Lafayette Grand
Picture supplied



Grand Lafayette sake flights
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt
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*Nadine Cresswell-Myatt was invited as a guest
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Why? Discover the delights of sake with sensational food
When:  Mon & Tue CLOSED Wed - Fri 5pm to 10pm Sat & Sun 12noon to 10pm
Phone: Grand Lafayette on (03) 9510 0501 -or email bookings@grandlafayette.com.au
Where: 9 Clifton Street, Prahran
Cost: Dishes from $9
Your Comment
What a great international foodie adventure. I can see why guests travel to visit the restaurant.
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|5389) 48 days ago
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