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Drinking with the AU: Chatting with Saké Restaurant's Bar Manager John Ross Jones about their new cocktail list - Southbank (Melbourne)

On the surface, Saké Restaurant & Bar is an ode to contemporary Japanese dining. It has the quintessential dark mahogany timber highlights and dim lighting that make it the perfect place to enjoy fresh sushi and sashimi whilst overlooking the breathtaking Yarra River and CBD. While Saké fits the classic description of a Japanese restaurant, it goes one step further than the rest: its specialty is in Japanese cocktails, whiskies and beverages that you would be hard-pressed to find in any other one place in Australia.

Eating with the AU: Saké Restaurant - Spring Menu 2015 (Southbank)

September is here and after an unusually cold winter, the sight of spring is particularly welcome. Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens are once-again alive with the chatter of birds meandering through the breeze, whilst the once-bare branches of sakura (cherry trees) along the Yarra River are beginning to bloom. These blossoming jewels have held a special place in Japanese hearts for centuries; during the period of Hanami (flower viewing), Japanese people often gather beneath the branches of sakura to celebrate the bounty of spring by eating and drinking together. It is only fitting then that Southbank’s contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar, Saké, has launched a new spring menu that heralds the unmistakable flavours of the season.

Eating with the AU: Dessert Masterclass - Saké Restaurant & Bar (Southbank)

Melbourne foodies – it may be cold outside but that shouldn’t stop you from getting off the couch, changing out of your pyjamas and taking a much-needed break from re-runs of MasterChef. If you’re longing for a little gastronomical magic, then whip out that trusty old umbrella and traipse down the stairs by the Yarra River at Hamer Hall, where you will find Saké Restaurant & Bar. During July and August, Saké will be hosting a series of interactive customer events designed to bring the spirit of contemporary winter Japanese dining alive.

Eating with the AU: Sake Restaurant & Bar (Autumn Menu 2015) - Southbank (Melbourne)

Autumn is a wonderful season in Japan, when temperatures have cooled and pleasant sunny days give way to mild yet invigoratingly chilly nights. It is a time of hearty eating and is also known as 旬の食材 (shun no shikuzai), which literally translates to “season of food”. A deep awareness of the intricacies of the seasons and progression of the cycles of nature is a defining part of Japanese culture. Thus, it is only fitting that Executive Chef Wayne Brown has launched a new autumn menu at Saké, Southbank’s contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar.

Drinking with the AU: Bier Akademie at Munich Brauhaus - South Wharf (Melbourne)

We are seated like naughty kids in the back row of the intimate loft space at Munich Brauhaus. Below us roars the festive tunes of a traditional German oom pah pah band. The tables are glistening with bright glassware, reflective of our anticipation. At the front of the classroom stands our Bier Meister. He signals for our attention and with that, we are welcomed to the Bier Akademie – one of the standout features of this year’s Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.

Eating with the AU: Munich Brauhaus - South Wharf (Melbourne)

If you’ve never had the pleasure of devouring an authentic German sausage, then this might just be the place to try it. Situated on the cosmopolitan South Wharf Promenade, Munich Brauhaus is an establishment like no other, bringing to Melbourne all the entertainment of a traditional Bavarian bierhaus without having to fly halfway around the world.