Notice how I didn’t put a ‘CCU Undercover’ in front of this? Well, that’s because it was more like an entourage of bloggers scouring out the restaurant and being all spy like – not obvious at all with our cameras and lack of eating as soon as the food arrived 😛
After the Eat Drink Blog conference (whose photos I am STILL sorting through so pls. Bear with me :P), and just before my flight, I joined my new foodie pals on one last lunch time extravaganza 🙂
Who did I dine with? Well, the fabulous blogger/unofficial husband of mine, Vanny @Nessy Eater, the queen of photography and Instagram, Tammi @Insatiable Munchies and super bubbly/basically my twin Canberra blogger Eileen @The Food Avenue 😀
Awesome sauce company am I right? Joined by awesome sauce food, as you shall see!
Ok, so from memory, Vanny and I had literally just run the earth down with our awesome DDR (dance dance revolution) skills at the local Time Zone before we realised it was closing in on lunch time and we had to meet Tammi and Eileen!
One loooong walk later, a bit of directional frustration and a damnable google maps later, we finally spotted them outside Sake.
Sake is a very popular Japanese restaurant, even in Sydney, and though I personally had never been, Tammi was really excited to visit it. Being a sucker for Japanese food, how could I ever say no right?
When we walked in, I was immediately transported. Large branches of fake cherry blossoms, and Japanese lanterns all around the interior, it went really well against the mainly wooden furniture and booths inside.
There was also an open kitchen of sorts, from which all sorts of tantalising aromas were escaping – no complaints here 😀
You know what the beauty of dining with all food bloggers is? Everyone waits a good 10 minutes before actually eating anything, since everyone understands the need to photograph in the right light, at the right angle and are patient enough to let it all happen!
I say this now because the food that you are about to see was extremely aesthetic in presentation.
We food bloggers kind of lost our… *hit. 😀
Besides the usual dishes from the menu ordered, Tammi, Eileen and Vanny also investigated the special cherry blossom menu, only available as a special Spring Lunch menu. Being a vegetarian, I stuck to the normal menu thanks 😀
Now, the first dish to be photographed (yes not ate, photographed!) was the Octopus Suno Mono – tender diced and tea steamed QLD Octopus, served chilled with three types of seaweed varieties, amaza ponzu and bonita jelly dash ($14).
I feel like you would have to be exceptionally brave to try this dish, but at the same time, I suppose that if you have grown up with this intense seafood flavour, it would just be a gourmet version 🙂
Chopstick action! No, I still haven’t learnt to use chopsticks, this was Tammi 😛
It was quite a generous serving I thought for a starter, and I know everyone enjoyed it considering it was gone pretty fast. I also noticed there was definitely an acceptable ratio of octopus to seaweed, which funnily enough, is not that common (I mean veggies seem to dominate dishes when I go out, scrimping out on the actual main base)
Now ok, I am going to update this part when I can because for the life of me, I can’t remember what this dish was called 😛 and my Japanese is really not that good considering when I got home, I googled half the dishes at the table!
But this was the appetiser part of the cherry blossom menu ($38), although sashimi like this I have never seen! The appetiser specifically was 6 slices of market fresh tuna, salmon and kingfish served with wasabi and soy.
Well, here comes that soy for you all #pouringshot 😛
Until I confirm the name, can I just tell you how perfectly highlighted the fish in this dish was? Beautiful colours, and with an icy blue little addition behind it, it looked very inviting!
These pieces of fish most certainly were also enjoyed – I mean look at that close up! How much fresher could it possibly be??
Now, no need to fear, I too ate my hearty fill at this restaurant, believe you me 😉
I ordered one dish of Vegan Temari Sushi – 5 types of beautiful vegetarian sushi ($15). And beautiful they were, I have never seen sushi presented like this before!
My favourite without a doubt was the one flavoured with soy sauce and generously filled with eggplant. Hoooo boy, that eggplant was really something! It melted in your mouth, and left you craving more! The small yellow almost ‘cheese slice’ was actually a pickled vegetable on top! 😛
The pink sushi actually was topped with radish rings that were firm and crunchy, and went really well against the packed soft rice 🙂 I think you can tell, but the all green (fighting machine) sushi was topped with creamy avocado and a small tsp of salsa of sorts!
I didn’t actually eat the mushroom topped one because well.. it was a giant mushroom! But I really liked the cut design, and the cute sprinkling of sesame seeds! I also really liked the presentation of how it was served on a giant Sake leaf (the leaf that when fermented, because the iconic Sake drink) 🙂
Next, we get to the Popcorn Shrimp (bite-size prawn tempura pieces served with a creamy spicy sauce ($14). I regret not being able to try this, anything popcorn related, even if only in look, makes me smile!
The pieces were small and light, but definitely crunchy, and I know we ALL went a little crazy over that dipping sauce – it was so creamy, and had a kick similar to an Indian chutney! 🙂
Also can we just take a minute to appreciate how cute the box it was served in was? Class guys. Class 😀
Now you may be wondering, how did I even try the dipping sauce? I certainly didn’t get my finger all into it! Nope, I tried with the Salt and Pepper Tofu = crispy fried tofu pieces with chilli and spring onion ($12).
While definitely crispy, I found it was a little bland in flavour. The crunchy exterior was delicious, but the tofu inside did not explode in my mouth, so that was a little underwhelming, unlike the tofu I had at Red Lantern on Riley. However, one dip of the tofu in this creamy sauce and I was practically dancing!
The two dishes were made for each other 😀
You know, writing out this post, I realise just how many starters were ordered 😛 The final starter was the Waygu Tartare – hand diced waygu beef, fried egg puree and sweet potato crisp ($26). There were two of these served in a wide bowl, lashings of puree around them as well.
Truly hard to photograph! But the presentation was such a winner, and I love how the restaurant turned such an Australian flavour into a Japanese style 🙂
Definitely lives up to being a contemporary Japanese restaurant!
Heading back to the cherry blossom menu now, the mains arrived. I was too full at this point to order anymore honestly! 😛 So I just sat back and watched the foodie enjoyment around me!
The first dish in mains was the Beef Brisket – slow and low, thrice cooked with sweet spring vegetables, miso cream potato pave and sweet soy reduction. As our waiter told us later, the beef here was supposed to be quite dry, but I got the impression that it wasn’t the favourite of the mains. I also thought it was a little sparse on the side vegetables here!
Though nice touch with the carrots cut up like flowers 😀
The main that everyone was more impressed was the (again, I think for this dish) Buta No Kakuni – 12 hr braised pork belly, daikon radish, onset tamago, 640c hens egg, truffle oil scallions ($28).
A large bowl filled with brother and pork belly pieces warmed the table, and it was one of the highlights for the guys! Just look at Eileen’s bowl, even I was tempted to try this! It had a lovely aroma coming from it 😛
Finally, after everyone else was stuffed as well, we received the cutie-pie dessert part of the cherry blossom menu. It was the Sakura Strawberry Tart with seasonal pressed fruits. It was a tiny tart but perfect for our small little cravings for something sweet!
The pastry was thick, but buttery and soft when tasted, and not too sweet, going well with the glazed strawberries 🙂
I really liked the pastry cream as well, I would have happily spooned that and eaten the fluffy confection all on its own!
It was at this point that I had to rush off to find a taxi to get to the airport in time! 😛 But I will always remember this as my first grown up food blogger dinner :’)
- Awesome service – our waiter did not only provide great service, but he was also very knowledgeable about all the dishes!
- Lovely atmosphere
- Obviously fresh food
- Great range of gourmet Japanese foods
Address: Level 1/45 Eagle St,
Brisbane QLD 4000
Phone number: 3015 0557
Just before I go, I would like to give a little shout out – You may remember Ala who started the #undergradstudentblogger series, who blogs at Wallflour Girl! Well, this progressive girl has started up her OWN Etsy baking shop!
She is SO going places! She will baking and shipping her amazing creations! Anyway, the official launch is on the 10th of October (today for me, tomorrow for some of you!) so feel free to check out this link and win some of her amazing sweet goodies in an omnomnom sample box she will be selling on a daily basis! Isn’t that brilliant? 😀
A big congratulations to you Ala, you go girl! 😀
But for now mes cheris, we have no more time left – do try not to devour too much Japanese food though 😉 (JOKES no such thing as too much Japanese food!)
Do you sometimes have to look up what is in the dishes at restaurants covertly on your phone? Or do you straight up ask the waiter? 😀
Also a huge thank you to the overwhelming response for guest posts! I will be emailing all of you shortly, did I ever tell you all how much I adore you! xx