If there’s a drink that soothes the soul, it’s sake. That or the Japanese plum wine umeshu, or the often heady spirit shochu, made since the 16th century. It feels clean and pure and like an oh-so-very-saintly Friday night purge.
Especially if you’re sipping the clear liquid while parked at a new sake bar with more than 60 bottles to sip and slurp your way through.
Sake Restaurant and Bar sits snugly beside the newly redeveloped and relaunched Hamer Hall. It creeps along the Yarra with a run of turquoise outdoor chairs acting as beacons. Barrels dangle like buoys from the ceiling, framing a classy bar alcove that would be easy to get lost in. Did I mention the sake cocktails? Try the Pink Blossom.
The bar is elegant and graceful and wonderfully Japanese, in contemporary style. Best of all, it has an electric cherry blossom tree on the second level that rocks. It’s romantic and, at night, particularly moody with views across the city and razor-sharp service.
Magic is created in the kitchen. Simple magic, mind you. Executive chef Shaun Presland and head chef Rose Ang aren’t into too much trickery but do respect the produce.
Kingfish Jalapeno (pictured above) is a case in point. Slices of Hiramasa kingfish crowned with a slice of jalapeno chilli and placed in a shallow pool of soy and yuzu. Boom!
Sashimi tacos bursting with salmon and tuna are flavoursome, textural and fun, and come with shots of Kozaemon Junmai sake to sip.
Sake has finally delivered some light to this corner of the world. Take a stroll, or be really cheeky – knock off work early and make it a late Friday luncheon. I dare you.