The clean flavours of Japanese food shine in Sake Restaurant’s new menu with plenty of twists and innovative combinations from Shaun Presland who has returned as Group Executive Chef and resident chef at Sake The Rocks.

As one of Australia’s top Japanese chefs, Shaun brings new dimensions and flavour combinations to the dining table and his new menu at Sake in Brisbane does not disappoint.

How about nori crisps with a sesame ponzu dressing that combines diced tuna and kingfish? Put it all on top of a nori-rice crisp, finished with a sprinkling of togarashi chilli pepper.

Then there is Shaun’s take on steak and eggs. He fries eggs over easy in butter, then blitzes them with dashi to create a puree, This is mixed with raw beef, creating a creamy texture beef tartare.

There is a Chirashi salad sashimi with a crunchy tempura topping adding a hint of naughtiness. Chirashi means scattered and refers to the fresh sashimi scattered throughout Shaun’s light, salad invention.

Nasu dengaku is bite-sized pieces of twice-fried eggplant which are doused with egg miso to add a beautiful and flavour-filled caramelisation.  They remind me of goat’s eyes but don’t let this put you off as they are simply delicious.

I often avoid tofu as it is usually tasteless and unpleasant to eat, but Shaun has coated the Agedashi tofu in blue seaweed which creates superb crunch and turns it into a highly desirable dish.  The seaweed salad, a zingy, fresh mix of five different seaweeds and rice noodles, topped with ginger crisps and yuzu, ginger dressing, is another highlight.

Sweet Cone Bay ocean barramundi is perfectly paired with an umeboshi sauce and shiso and somehow tastes like bacon but, for me, the highlight is Buta no kakuni. This is pork belly steamed for 12 hours before being braised in a mixture of soy, traditional Japanese black sugar and dashi which reduces down to a thick, syrupy sauce. The pork is topped with an onsen egg, which offsets the sweetness.

Another one to try is the grilled mushroom and cauliflower. Sliced mushroom is grilled on the robata until it starts to blacken, which brings out superb flavour that pairs perfectly with a collection of Asian mushrooms. It’s dressed with Shaun’s version of a rich white soy beurre blanc. A yuzu dressing cuts through the butter and panko breadcrumb adds crunch.

Although dessert is usually not the highlight in a Japanese restaurant, Shaun’s light chocolate cake is the perfect end to the meal.

Where is Sake?

Find Sake Restaurant on the top level of Eagle Street Pier by the Brisbane River at 45 Eagle Street.

The restaurant received a hat in the 2018 Brisbane Times Good Food Guide Awards.

The Rockpool Dining Group operates Sake Restaurants at Double Bay, Flinders Lane, Hamer Hall and The Rocks.

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Sake Restaurants & Bar.