If you were just passing by Sake by the Argyle Steps in the The Rocks, you would be forgiven for not even taking a second glance. From the outside, Sake looks like the many other historic sandstone clad buildings in the area, but step inside and you will find an impressive designer space housing an unforgettable dining experiencing.
Serving contemporary Japanese cuisine, the Chef's at Sake, headed by Shaun Presland, present a delicate fusion of traditional Japanese fare and modern style. The menu changes seasonally and is matched with a premium range of imported sake.
We had arrived early for our dinner reservation so began our night with a few cocktails in the bar. Usually I like to indulge in a pre-dinner drink, but I have to admit on this occasion the bar wasn't quite up to scratch. The bar is basically directly in the foyer of the restaurant and has limited seating, so we ended up standing awkwardly at the bar while diners brushed past on their way in and out of the restaurant (and on their way to the restrooms). That said, the cocktails were very good - check out the cocktail menu here.
While the bar area was a disappointment, the rest of the night was wonderful. We were seated at the Sushi Bar in the main dining room with front row views of the bustling sushi chefs (there must have been at least twenty chefs creating culinary delights to order).
Below are a selection of the dishes we chose - my favourites were the Steamed Prawn Dumplings ($17) which were simply delicious and tasty and the Wagyu Tartare ($26) with it's delicate perfectly balanced flavours and textures. Check out the current menu here.
Sake has a couple of dining spaces and my recommendation is that when making a reservation, be sure to request a table in the main dining room or at the Sushi Bar. For a more causal meal, there is a small dining area just off the bar where there are simple wooden communal bench style tables with wooden bar stools. Personally, I think Sake is worthy of a special occasion and for that, only the main dining room will do. In the main dining room, you'll find a large Sushi Bar where you can watch the drama amongst the Chefs unfold, a raised area for traditional shoes-off tatami dining, isakaya-like booths, some private dining rooms and more formal table seating.
Sake is a great place to go for a romantic dinner with a loved one, but also caters just as well for a group - be that a business dinner or dinner party with friends. You could also comfortably dine alone (I would recommend the Sushi Bar for solo affairs) though unless you have a big appetite you might miss out on trying many of Sake's delights.
Service was impeccable and attentive, exactly what you would expect in a fine dining restaurant but without the pretense. Our waitress seamlessly cleared each dish just as the next arrived and ensured our glasses were always full. We found a slight discrepancy in our bill at the end of the night but our waitress graciously and explained the error and immediately resolved it with a smile.