If you weren’t yet convinced of the resurgence of Double Bay, the opening of Saké Restaurant & Bar should be all you need to hear. Under the newly opened InterContinental Hotel, Saké Double Bay builds on the legacy established by its fellow hatted locations, mixing a menu of old favourites with tantalising new dishes.
“You don’t want to get too hung up on the tradition thing,” says Martin Heierling, group culinary director at Urban Purveyor Group. “I think the tradition is the ingredient. If the ingredient is great, you’re halfway there.” Much of the inspiration for the contemporary menu came from Heierling’s time at Japanese restaurant Morimoto in the United States.
Bar seating, a long communal table and a covered outdoor terrace already make the restaurant feel edgier than its Argyle Street counterpart. The layout also incorporates a stand-alone sushi counter, fitted with glass cases designed to showcase the fish. Take one look at the quality of the produce, and it’s clear why.
If the choice between dragon ash seared scampi and tuna sashimi is too much to bear, sushi omakase – a new offering from Saké – lets you hand over all decision making to the chef. “You can just say hey, here’s my budget – go for it,” Heierling explains. “The whole idea of the counter is to have that interaction with somebody. People love it.”
Another first for Saké is the custom-built robata, a traditional Japanese grill that reaches temperatures exceeding 500 degrees Celsius. “The robata has become a real focal point,” Heierling says, after describing how the menu was crafted around it. With everything from skewers of Japanese eggplant with niku chicken miso, to premium steaks of pure bred master kobe beef sizzling on the grill, Heierling explains, “It’s the speed, the heat and the effect of the binchotan charcoal that makes it different. Whatever drips off into the charcoal incinerates upon contact, and the vapour that comes back actually gives it flavour.”
As for desserts, you won’t find anything too sickly sweet. Instead, expect creative dishes where flavours and textures are thoughtfully balanced. If the impressive wine and cocktail list still leaves you thirsty, you could always try the sake and food pairing on offer.
Saké Double Bay
33 Cross Street, Double Bay
(02) 8017 3104
Mon to Sat 11am–midnight