The entertainment book has done it once again. Instead of relying on my list of safe to go restaurants, I have tried so many new restaurants in these few occasions where I have decided to dine out. For a while now Sake Bar has been having a fair bit of buzz over the internet media like Facebook and Urbanspoon. While some people love it, there is definitely others who would fault it. Stepping in, there are so many reasons to be wow-ed. From a modern lounge for drinks before walking in to a heavily wooden accented dining area, this place screams Japan. The waitresses, not all Japanese but does it even bother me much? Definitely no. Sliding my finger around the menu, is was clear that there is a little bit of inspiration of everything from everywhere. But for me tonight, I am going all out on fish.
California Roll. This one costed us $10 for 5 pieces. It looks fair but for the price you would hope a little more. In this version of California Roll, the prawns have been substituted for crab sticks =X. The rice was cooked to perfection but hmm it felt lacklustre. Might have to get back to this one later one.
Next up was the fried sushi which caught our eyes as the waitress served it to another customer. This sort of thing definitely catches my eyes. Crispy on the outside with a generous serve of tuna mixed with spicy mayonnaise, magic? At close to $4.50 a pop, There was much anticipation from our hungry tummies. Did it deliver would be the main question. Tuna was smashing but something like that for $19? I’m out of here!! This tasted rather alright but the shards of crispy rice stuck between your gums is something else.
Aburi Nigiri was another dish that I ordered that night. Hand-torched seafood really brings out the sweetness of seafood which, when raw just does not taste as spectacular. For $19 at Sake Bar,you get a selection of Kingfish, Salmon and Scallops, which was a nice amount of fish. Out of the lot, the scallop was king. The quality of the scallops were good and that smoothness of the scallop flesh was immense. Salmon unfortunately lies low in the rank. The best would probably be from Shiro Izakaya, second from Bonzai and thirdly, here. Just not as melt in your mouth as what I have had before! Kingfish was ok, but does not seem to benefit as much as the scallops and salmon.
Next was the Kingfish Carpaccio.
This felt somewhat Nobu inspired with all the famed pictures of Kingfish and Jalapeno lying around the internet but this was different. The very thinly sliced fish was really smooth. Mango and spring onions mixture for this just did not excite. Having the fried condiments on there, I could not tell the intention because that has instantly taken away the very subtle freshness of the fish. I mean after all Carpaccio means to serve raw is it not?
The next one was the Aburi Salmon with Wasabi Mayo and Salmon Roe.
This one, albeit being a little more delicate on the palate still did not pack that melting sensation I seek. But the flavour were great despite my fellow guest found it a little pungent from the wasabi mayo. It looked really beautiful on the table. It tasted promising but still has rooms for improvement.
At the end of the night, I did not leave feeling satisfied. I walked in created my little cloud of expectation for a classic Japanese Izakaya from all the wooden accented interior, the flowing water, and when you open the menu, you get a fair amount of classics with another huge selection or modern dishes which is good. But when it came to the table it was not all that spectacular. Misses were more than hits and yeah. It did not taste like crap but neither did it justify its price tag.
With all the other restaurants in the vicinity like Bonzai or Shiro across the train station you would at least want to price yourself strategically if not decently. All restaurants mentioned packed great modern interior. Bonzai of the lot feels value for money with an urban feel. The menu is fresh, exciting and clearly distinctive from the rest where it packs a very Western feel to it without losing the Japanese touch. Shiro on the other hand places itself in the heart of the city where rental is prime. Its menu is upmarket but food quality, generous. The only thing not justified at Shiro would be its green tea which is $4 a small pot.