Saké Restaurant & The Cut Bar & Grill: Cherry Blossom Festival and Spring Banquet

Saké Restaurant & Bar and The Cut Bar & Grill are celebrating the much-awaited arrival of spring during the month of September with a Cherry Blossom Festival and Spring Banquet. Over a leisurely progressive dinner, an intimate group of media guests were treated to a taste of spring starting with a touch of Japan at Saké Restaurant and ending down the basement of The Cut Bar & Grill at the Rocks.

Sake Restaurant
Sake Restaurant private dining room

Celebrating the Cherry Blossom Festival, the private dining room of Saké Restaurant was transformed into a romantic setting with soft ambient lighting and cherry blossom decorations draping above the long table.

Sake Restaurant
Cherry blossom decorations

A special cocktail created by Saké Sommelier, Wayne Shennen greeted guests on arrival and set the mood for the elegant dining experience.

Sake Restaurant
Cherry Blossom Festival Menu

The Dance of the Cherry Blossom Cocktail is an interactive cocktail made up of two parts. Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV sparkling wine is first poured into a champagne flute. Beside it, sits a shot glass with elderflower liqueur and dehydrated lychee and cherry petals infused with umeshu.

Pour the contents quickly into the champagne flute and watch the cherry petals and lychee dance seductively in the glass and float to the surface.

Sake Restaurant
The Dance of the Cherry Blossom Cocktail

The cocktail is slightly sweet and floral with a gentle fizz – a drink that captures the spirit of sakura and emulates cherry blossom petals falling from the trees.

Mochi canapé

A mochi canapé made fromred bean and wrapped in shiso leaf accompanied the cocktail.

Sake Restaurant
Scallop ceviche

The first dish from the Cherry Blossom Festival menu was a colourful palette of vegetables and scallop ceviche, marinated in lemon and lime juice and tossed with olive oil, coriander, fried onion and jalapenos. Sweet potatoes and cherry tomatoes add a little texture and sweetness to the zesty scallops. The dish was matched with Amabuki Daiginjo sake, which has had a minimum of 50% of the rice grain milled giving it a smooth and lightly floral taste.

Sake Restaurant
Duck and spring onion

The second course was a tender duck breast topped with spring onion, baby leeks and dark miso sauce with kamo negi dengaku, rice onigiri and daikon pickle. The accompanying shitake mushrooms and asparagus added a touch of spring to the plate. The dish was well matched with Kozaemon Junmai Ginjou sake that has been milled to 40% – the stronger flavour complemented the richness of the duck meat.

L-R: Kozaemon Junmai Ginjou, Amabuki Daiginjo

The progressive dinner moved from Saké Restaurant to the Cut Bar & Grill for their Spring Banquet.

The Cut Bar & Grill
Lighting at the Cut Bar & Grill

The Cut Bar & Grill
Tasmanian spring lamb cutlet with sweetbread, lamb shank tortellini, asparagus, mustard and tarragon

Their dish was a celebration of spring with tender Tasmanian spring lamb accompanied by sweetbread, lamb shank tortellini, asparagus, mustard and tarragon.

The Cut Bar & Grill
Rosemary and Jamon Baked potatoes

Wholesome side dishes of Rosemary Potatoes with Prosciutto and Italian and local cabbage salad with Jamon topped with a soft-poached egg which oozed with yolk coating the salad.

The Cut Bar & Grill
Shredded cabbage salad with soft poached egg

The main course was served with a 2010 Ngeringa JE Assemblage Chardonnay Viogner and a 2003 Lark Hill Merlot – the latter was a delightful accompaniment to the tender and flavoursome lamb.

Next stop was at the Cut’s Bar for dessert and a selection of their signature cocktails.

The Cut Bar & Grill
Selection of signature cocktails

In the champagne flute, the Gardenia Bellini is made with elderflower, apples and Chandon Blanc de Blancs vintage. In the coupe glass, The Elegant Zombie is a blend of dark and white rum with caramel, passionfruit, pineapple and lime.

The Cut Bar & Grill
Emerald Forest cocktail, Passionfruit and yoghurt ice cream brioche sandwich

The Emerald Forest cocktail is made with 40ml Zubrowka vodka, 20 ml Tuaca, 30 ml of pineapple juice combined into a shaker, shaken briskly with ice then double strained into martini glass. The cocktail is garnished with a basil leaf and cracked black pepper.

Dessert was a mini brioche of passionfruit and yoghurt ice cream that was simply mooreish yet palate cleansing after the spring feast.

Bartender Sean Duncan preparing the HenneCigar

As a special treat, bartender Sean Duncan prepared the HenneCigar cocktail. A single Monte Cristo no2 cigar leaf was lit and covered with a brandy balloon to capture the smoke. In the meantime, 40ml Hennesey VSOP, 30ml Markers Mark Bourbon, ½ Passionfruit and 30ml Pomegranate Juice were combined and shaken then double strained into the brandy balloon which had the  gentle aroma of cigar. The drink was then garnished with the cigar leaf on top.

It may be dubbed as “one for the gentlemen”, but the HenneCigar’s marriage of cognac and cigar leaf is a cocktail for discerning palates and one which puts a decadent end to any meal.

Saké and the Cut

The Saké Restaurant & Bar and The Cut Bar & Grill progressive dinner was held on 29 August 2012.

Sake is featured in our guide to Sydney’s Best Japanese Restaurants.

Sake Restaurant & Bar
12 Argyle Street, The Rocks
The Rocks, NSW 2000

The Cut Bar & Grill
16 Argyle Street, The Rocks
The Rocks, NSW 2000


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.