Ken Tut’s food is Sash’s strongest asset. It’s a spectacle of hybrid styles and flavours, part Japan, part Hawaii, part Europe, part uncharted.
The menu at this new Windsor restaurant from Kyle Stagoll and Dave Nelson spans two hemispheres, and its dishes are designed to be shared.
It starts with an eccentric vision of Japanese fusion with tasty but screwy dishes such as raw ahi tuna crispy gyoza-skin-shell tacos, with avocado, alfalfa, Sriracha mayo and wasabi tapioca pearls. Or try the spicy fried-prawn sliders, which come in black activated-charcoal brioche buns.
The other half of the menu is two styles of Japanese pizza. If you’ve spent time in Japan you might be shuddering at the idea of what sounds like a strange mutation. But this, thankfully, isn’t that. Tut has designed 12 beautifully crafted pizzas layered with ingredients such as south-Cali poke (salmon, avocado and wasabi mayo) with octopus balls, or chilli spanner crab with lemon and blood orange, both of which use black squid-ink bases. A selection of so-called “Sashizza” comes with slightly heavier toppings, such as hoisin duck salad or teriyaki pulled pork, on crispy gluten-free bases that Tut prepares by flattening out rice and blitzing it in the oven.
They’ve enlisted Kyle Rose, formerly of GoGo Bar, as the main drinks man. His menu features cocktails with a “Japanese twist”, Stagoll says, such as a take on a spritz with sake, yazu, Aperol and sparkling rosè.
The Chapel Street restaurant is slick and dimly lit, with a neon sign behind the bar that declares: “Hangovers are temporary … Stories last forever.”
Stagoll and Nelson enlisted Black Milk Designs to help with the fit-out, which includes a standout bar made from three-and-a-half tonnes of bluestone (designed to “emulate a Japanese castle,” says Stagoll) and a panelled timber roof.
The best seat in the house is right at the back of this narrow 120-seat space. Here you’ll find three long benches that overlook windows into the taproom, filled with beer, wine, cocktails and sake hooked up to colourful squiggly cords that lead to the bar. Sash is the kind of place where innovation and ambition are proudly displayed in large, bold and possibly, at times, heavy-handed brushstrokes. Definitely worth a look.
113 Chapel Street, Windsor
(03) 9510 4016
Mon to Sun 5.30pm–11.30pm