As someone who absolutely loves their Japanese cuisine, I was overjoyed to be invited to a private dinner at Saké’s new Flinders Lane location nestled in one of Melbourne’s most iconic gastronomical strips. Three-star Michelin chef Jean Paul Lourdes would be showcasing some of his mouth watering signature dishes, accompanied by an array of impressive Japanese style drinks. I’d heard the brand new venue was quite impressive, so I was excited to arrive at what would no doubt be Melbourne’s latest hot spot.
This two story residence is Saké’s 5th location to open in Australia, so the name really does need no introduction. Its sister restaurant, located next to Hamer Hall, boasts a devout following, especially with its waterfront views and fresh, modern cuisine. With a bar downstairs, the Flinders Lane venue holds a large range of sake, umeshu and Japanese whisky, making it the perfect location for not only great food, but also after work drinks. The menu itself though is simply breathtaking and shows so much technique and creativity. The togarashi and furikake spice mix are all made in house, and the soy sauce and salts are house smoked. They’ll also be making the miso paste inhouse further down the line (it takes six months to make). With all this in mind, I could not wait to taste these beautifully crafted dishes.
Our first dish of the evening was the traditional Miso Soup, an absolute classic. This one was made with artisanal miso, cured egg yolk, and crispy garlic. After one mouthful I could tell that all other Miso soups would forever be ruined, as I would never taste anything as impressively balanced as this. Six courses were to follow, and without writing ten pages of the extraordinary taste sensations that ensued, I will higlight some of my favourite dishes:
The carpaccio avocado and oyster mushrooms were a great starter as they were delightfully fresh, delicate, and presented absolutely beautifully. A lovely house salad with sprouting broccoli, bulgar wheat and farmers cheese was another special dish. The cheese was broken apart so the inside could literally ooze out onto the rest of the salad. The beef tataki, with shichimi togarishi, and salted plum was yet another well presented dish, with such a unique and fresh approach to its flavours. It was wonderful to see that they catered so well to vegetarians. With a range of dishes suited to all manner of dietary requirements.
It was intriguing to experiment with the beautiful Sake’s that accompanied each dish, their flavours chosen to perfectly compliment the food. An applause for innovative technique, bold flavour combinations, and truly unique ingredients and presentation. Now try not to let your mouth water too much as you browse through imagery of the other extraordinary dishes:
Saké Flinders Lane
Address: 121 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
Venue images supplied and credited to Nicole England.