The Urban Purveyor Group will open its latest Sake Restaurant & Bar on Melbourne’s Flinders Lane, this Friday, 15 April.

Executive chef Jean Paul Lourdes has creates a menu that stays true to the Sake offering while also reflecting his own cooking style. The menu celebrates locally sourced produce including artisan cheeses and heritage bred chicken and pork. Core ingredients such as tofu and miso paste, which takes six months to make, will be crafted in-house.

Unique to Sake’s Flinders Lane site is its Yakitori (brined and slow cooked for 24 hours), then glazed in tare and robata grilled over binchotan charcoal.

“We play with texture, temperature, flavour and fragrance to create a feast for the senses,” Lourdes said. “For example, Niku Chazuke combines fragrant rice infused with Osmanthus blossom, with green tea and simmered beef, while contrasting temperatures and tastes define our beef tataki with the beef served warm and seasoned with spicy togarashi and freeze-dried plum and salted plum.”

The downstairs bar will cater to late-night diners until 2am from Thursday to Saturday, with the bar closing at 3am.

The drinks list comprises a range of Japanese craft beers, including those from Coedo, Niigata and Hitachino, and the largest range of umeshu, sake and Japanese whisky of all Sak restaurants. The cocktail list includes a shiitake-infused Hakushu single malt cocktail; a cheesecake martini combining Appleton VX Jamaican rum, yuzu juice, mascarpone and blueberries; and a smoky BBQ version of a Bloody Mary.

The downstairs bar will feature a shochu library of 80 urns, each containing 1.9 litres of shochu – a traditional distilled spirit. Customers can buy urns and access their personal shochu collection from the library each time they visit. Sake’s shochu list includes four house-made infusions: jalapeo and lemon, strawberry and thyme, shiso and cucumber, and lemongrass and ginger, as well as a number of chu-hai, where shochu is mixed with fruit puree and topped with soda.

In terms of design, the two-storey restaurant features a mid-century palate of Japanese grass cloths, handmade Japanese tiles, green marble surfaces, teak veneers, timber, cream leather furnishings, and bronze mirrors. The ground floor seats 119, including 17 at a wood counter that overlooks a sushi bar and robatayaki grill, and a private dining room that seats 12. The downstairs bar and dining area seats 174, including 24 on tables by a stone bar, 48 in an outside courtyard bar, and a private dining room for 16.

The Flinders Lane opening forms part of UPG’s aggressive expansion plans for the Sake concept, which include the establishment of Sake Jr, a fast fine-casual concept, and Sake Live in Sydney, which is due in mid-2016 and will feature the city’s largest robatayaki grill and sushi bar.


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