Contemporary Japanese restaurant Saké Restaurant & Bar is enriching the menu new robatayaki, or robata dishes. The addition of creative new robata dishes celebrates the traditional cooking technique of grilling over hot charcoal.
A new robata menu section will launch across Saké restaurants from mid-June. The menu will launch first at Saké Double Bay on Tuesday 14th June. The exciting new dishes will then be added to the menus at Saké The Rocks, Saké Manly and Saké Hamer Hall.
The ancient fire-side flavours of robata blend with Saké’s contemporary spin on Japanese cuisine. Delightful new robata flavours bolster Saké restaurant’s world-class reputation for innovative sashimi and sushi. Saké is also renowned for the dining experience of omakase. Omakase is a phrase used when ordering food in Japan, which means ‘I’ll leave it up to you’. The chef then curates a special selection of dishes for the guest.
Origins of Robata Robatayaki translates to ‘fireside-cooking’ and is often shortened to robata. This centuries-old cooking technique is similar to barbecue. Robata cooking was developed by Japanese fishermen in Hokkaido who cooked over hot coals at sea.
A unique aspect of the Saké robata technique is to grill over charcoal smoke and finish with hay smoke. This robata grilling technique infuses ingredients with two layers of smokiness.
Saké & Rockpool Collaboration The robata menu is overseen by second-generation Japanese Chef Shimpei Hatanaka. Shimpei has worked for Saké restaurant for over a decade. He was promoted to Saké Brand Culinary Chef in April. In this role Shimpei oversees all five Saké restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Shimpei was inspired by robata cooking during Covid lockdowns in Melbourne. He experimented cooking over charcoal when he was unable to go to work at Saké Hamer Hall. He realised that smoke from the charcoal brough out the best flavours in produce. He was cooking entirely with supermarket produce due to restrictions. The robata technique made even basic supermarket ingredients taste amazing. Shimpei combined forces with Hunter St. Hospitality Culinary Director Corey Costelloe to work on the robata menu. Corey contributes a deep knowledge of the art of char-grilling following a 12-year career at the iconic Rockpool Bar & Grill. The chefs’ knowledge and unique skillsets will fuel innovative dishes and flavours across the entire Saké menu.
New robata menu highlights include:
· Skewers of King Brown mushrooms. The mushroom skewers are grilled on high heat to lock in a delicious smokiness. The skewers are finished with a glaze of yuzu soy sauce that adds an irresistible burnished flavour.
· Ribbons of Rangers Valley Wagyu are zigzagged onto skewers increasing the smoke:meat ratio. The Wagyu skewers are grilled on high heat to intensify the smokiness. A sesame glaze caramelises without obscuring the subtle smoke infusion.
· Negima yakitori chicken skewers have shallots interlaced with chicken thigh meat. The skewers are cooked over medium heat to bring out the sweetness of the shallot.
· King Prawns are butterflied, skewered and grilled on highest heat to maximise char. The skewers are smeared with kombu butter. The final touch is addition of juice from the Japanese citrus fruit sudachi.
· Berkshire pork cutlet are grilled over high heat, rested over low heat and finished. This is a Rockpool technique that maximises time on the grill and smoke infusion. A sticky Okinawa black sugar glaze complements a yuzu marmalade accompaniment.
Elevated Dining Experience Saké brought robata flavours to life at recent Delicious Month Out events. The Nose to Tail dinners at Saké Double Bay and Saké Hall showcased yakitori skewers cooked o the robata grill. Yakitori is a traditional Japanese dish of skewered chicken, which is grilled over charcoal.
The new robata dishes are the next step in the evolution of the contemporary Saké menu.
“We’ve dedicated an exceptional and enjoyable amount of time to our robata research and development in order to secure the best dining experience for guests,” Shimpei said.
Corey said it was a pleasure to work side-by-side Saké’s Japanese cooking experts. The Saké-Rockpool collaboration fused Eastern and Western grilling techniques that maximised the dining experience, he said.
“It’s an honour to coach the Japanese culinary contingent at Hunter St. Hospitality and contribute techniques that we have mastered at Rockpool Bar & Grill to their new robata menu,” Corey added.