A little Sydney Rock oyster, for example, opening salvo in an $80 tasting menu, dressed with ponzu made with the distinctive flavour of mandarin. A sublime, obscenely delicate chawanmushi the texture of fresh silken tofu flavoured with both dashi, swimmer crab and lemon oil. Quite surprising. And then there’s the brilliant use of an ultra-clarified jamon consommé – jellied, almost crystal clear – over pieces of Japanese scallop, sliced jamon and 102/21 Alberta Street, Surry Hills
(02) 8068 9774 sasaki.com.au
Smaller $11; larger $24; dessert $8; tasting menu $80
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Small wonder infant sugar snap pea pods bursting with the flavour of an English garden. It’s so clean, fresh and penetrating.
Spears of steamed then “tempura” fried asparagus are served with a wedge of lime and a green tea salt. But Sasaki’s “batter” is more like a seasoned, golden crust, a crisp shell revealing the unmistakable pleasure of asparagus juice inside.
Perfect, thick slices of raw kingfish (pictured) rise iceberg-like from a pond of red pepper gazpacho seasoned with akazu, the red vinegar made with the lees of sake production.
Duck two ways comes on a fruity, brick-coloured, slightly peppery leek sauce: slices of juicy, perfectly rendered roasted breast and fragrantly spiced poached “sausage”, the forcemeat wrapped in cabbage.
The first time rice appears is with Sasaki’s splendid take on a daube of beef. “Today’s rice” is hand-churned at the counter in an impressive piece of Japanese cast iron, distributing chary base bits through the grain with olive oil and pink vinegar. The meat itself, in a brilliant, dark curry/gravy, is outrageously moist and gelatinous – utterly delicious – and accompanied by spiced, fried cauliflower.
Even the miso soup here is special: a cloudy white miso puddle peppered with diced tofu, purple shiso and a solitary fish ball.
For the tasting menu customer, dessert provides the only opp for customisation: you might go for a lovely set custard, like a crema Catalana, with a heady top layer of plum wine/sake syrup. Or a seemingly bland mascarpone and matcha powder pud that bursts into life and harmony the moment you munch on a tile of tart yuzu meringue. It’s impressive. Again.
The drink list is brief; staff job-share in a manner that can make service a little clumsy. But it all pales. Book. Now. For 2018.