Not really in the CBD, tucked behind Hyde Park on the Surry Hills side, it actually took us a while to find Sasaki, hidden away in an unassuming location off an alleyway.
Wow, it is a find though. An elegant omakase for $80 (there was a $60 option too), and a matching tasting of sake ($50 each), oh an a supplement for having the wagyu beef instead of the duck (for one of us, $20). We found it well worth it.
And though there are parts of the glass awning and entranceway that look a little rundown (and the covered outdoor area might not be nice in bad weather), the atmosphere feels really elegant and cool and elevated. Great ceramics too.
It’s perhaps my biggest weakness as a food blogger that the posts that I have the hardest time writing and take the longest to do (we visited Sasaki for a pre-Valentine’s Day meal) are for restaurants I like the most.
I have the sense of wanting to do the place justice, explain all the reasons in detail why I liked it, and describe each course, say, as elegantly as Jackie, Does my bomb look big in this?, does in her reviews.
But I suppose I can allow myself to be lazy. That if the menu is included, and the photos of the food are there, you’ll get the feel of the place.
It does require that the plating and presentation are as good as the food tastes (oh yes, it was).
But I guess I could make a few comments… I love a beautifully presented freshly shucked oyster. This, with Japanese seasonings (yuzu and sake), was delicious. We started things off with cocktails, and they make really very interesting ones here, some great Japanese mixology going on. Husband thought that this green tea margarita was perhaps the best margarita ever.
The cuttlefish and uni with a sour plum granita was intriguing and weird and refreshing (photo at the top of the page).
I love both savoury and sweet custards, so the ‘tamago tofu’, a cold silken egg custard, was right up my alley.
The tuna, papaya and spice was elegant, though perhaps more similar to dishes we’ve had elsewhere.
This strange dumpling was, on the other hand, not like anything we’ve had elsewhere. I kind of liked it, but it was unusual, let’s say.
There was a gorgeous pairing of bar cod, with a perfect clam on each piece, and brussels sprouts leaves in a gentle broth. It was simple, not showy, and kind of perfect.
And I loved the simple rice that they served with it, corn mixed in with either a seasoned rice or something more substantial than the regular short grain Japanese variety (we didn’t get the Pork & Eggplant that night; that menu was to show us the sake pairing).
The duck was beautiful, as expected. The wagyu beef, for me, was worth the supplementary cost. A perfect piece of beef. Yum.
I have always loved sake, and so it was a real treat to get a variety of them: all with different complex flavours. Yup, what a treat.
I have to admit that the desserts weren’t really to my liking. No, I should say: I liked them but they didn’t stand out like the other dishes. I do like Japanese desserts but more as a snack with tea, or for a casual occasion. It’s hard to bring them into the realm of fine dining.
But I was surprised that husband arranged to have a special message on one of the desserts (our 14th anniversary was not that long before the meal) and really: I found this meal, all in all, to be fantastic.