Saké Restaurant and Bar, Hamer Hall

Drink, Eat, Melbourne / 2 September 2019

Spring is in full bloom at Saké Restaurant and Bar throughout September with special edition Cherry Blossom inspired cocktails, picnics and dining to kick start spring. 

It’s finally Springtime in Melbourne and after what felt like an endless Winter, the city is thawing out and Spring flavours and picnics are on everyone’s agenda. Saké Restaurants around the country are embracing the season this September with Sakura – aka the Cherry Blossom – themed dining events and picnics, as well as four delicious limited edition Sakura-inspired cocktails only available this month.

We were lucky enough to get a sneak sip and sample of the delights on offer at Saké’s Yarra-side venue at Hamer Hall last week, and the verdict is in: make space in your calendars this September, because you’re gonna want to try these.

Saké Bartender

Saké’s special private dining events will occur at the restaurant’s venue at Hamer Hall, as well as their Flinders Lane location, and their interstate spots at Manly, Double Bay, Eagle Street Pier, and The Rocks. Whether you decide to dine at the cosy, uber hip Flinders Lane venue, or prefer the riverside view at Hamer Hall, you’ll get to indulge in locally and ethically sourced dishes that combine Japanese flavour profiles with fresh, seasonal produce, as well as Sakura inspired cocktails that will have you Googling flight deals to Tokyo on the tram ride home.

A special picnic will be held at the Hamer Hall restaurant that will see Saké’s interior turned into a Cherry Blossom wonderland complete with tatami mats and zabuton cushions for diners to sit on, with an extensive, shared menu with a focus on regional Japanese cuisines – and, of course, the limited edition cocktails!

The first of the limited edition cocktails is the Little Geisha. This is one for the sweet toothed sippers out there, with Tanqueray gin and Amabuki Brewery Pink lady sake, mixed with a delicious combo Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, cranberry juice, and strawberry puree for a fruity sweetness, and a little egg white for that luxuriously fluff. If you’ve wanted to dip your toes into the world of Japanese sake, but aren’t quite ready to grab the bull by the horns just yet, then this is the drink for you. Not only does the fruitiness of the mix mellow out the sake hit, but Amabuki’s Pink Lady sake has been created for a Western palate, making this the perfect gateway sake. The Little Geisha is just as sweet and demure as the name suggests, and makes for easy sipping at a springtime brunch.

Saké Not An Ordinary Cherry

Next up is the Little Geisha’s classy older sister, Not An Ordinary Cherry. Made with Bulleit Bourbon, Cinzano Rosso Vermouth, Sakura Vermouth, and Peychaud’s Bitters, it’s unapologetically bold. Sophisticated and daring, Not An Ordinary Cherry’s vibrant pink hue belies the punch that it packs, and the Sakura Vermouth adds a delicious floral note that plays off the bourbon beautifully, and makes this a perfect, smooth, end of dinner drink.

If the Little Geisha is the little sister, and Not An Ordinary Cherry is the big sister, then the next drink on Saké’s list – Cherry Dorinku – is the cool friend. Dorinku literally translates to “drink” (go on, sound it out loud), and Cherry Dorinku is exactly what it promises. A little bitter, a little sweet, and very cherry, Cherry Dorinku is a mix of Pampero Especial Rum, Cherry Heering Liqueur, lime juice and cherry syrup topped with elderflower tonic. Served in a high ball, this one will be a hit with all of your squad, regardless of their palates. A favourite when we visited, Cherry Dorinkus will be flying out of the bar this September because you can’t just have one.

Saké Cherry Dorinku

Last, but by no means least, the fourth and final cocktail from Saké’s limited edition cocktail list is the Yozakura. A deceivingly minimalist blend of Ketel One Citroen Vodka, cherry syrup, lemon juice and egg whites, the Yozakura is surprisingly complex, stunning to look at, and delicious. Fruity, fresh, and sweet, the Yozakura is Springtime in a glass but, as with all of Saké’s cocktails, the twist is in the details. Rimmed with a blend of shiso umeboshi steeped salt and Turkish cherry tea leaves, every mouth full is a mouthwatering mix of salty and sweet. Topped with an edible viola flower and bright and glossy maraschino cherries, the Yozakura will no doubt be flooding your Instagram feed this September.

Saké Yozakura Cocktail

Saké Restaurant and Bar’s private dining events will focus on cuisine from Japan’s East and West regions, and will be held on:

Saké Hamer Hall – Wednesday, 4 September – Eastern Japanese Cuisine

Saké Hamer Hall – Wednesday, 18 September – Western Japanese Cuisine

Saké Flinders Lane – Wednesday, 11 September – Eastern Japanese Cuisine

Saké Flinders Lane – Thursday, 26 September – Western Japanese Cuisine

Each dinner menu, paired with drinks is $159pp – or, if you fancy trying out both East and West, you can get grab a spot at each for $300pp. You can check out the East and West dinner menus at Saké’s website here.

For one weekend, Saké Bar and Restaurant at Hamer Hall will be hosting two picnics – one on Saturday, and one on Sunday:

Saké Hamer Hall: Saturday, 21 September and Sunday, 22 September at 12.30pm

The picnic will set you back $169pp, which includes a cocktail on arrival and two hours of Veuve Clicquot Rosé, Cloudy Bay wine, and Sapporo beer.

If you want to get in on Saké’s cherry blossom fest, then you better spring into action because spots are getting snapped up fast.