Sake Restaurant and Bar at Hamer Hall has become synonymous with great Japanese food with just a bit of a twist. Sake Executive Chef, Wayne Brown has created a menu that embraces the best of Japanese culture and food with the exceptional seasonal produce that Australia offers. We caught up with him to talk about his menu at Sake and what he loves when he’s travelling and out and about town.
You’ve created a beautiful menu at Sake. What is your inspiration when it comes to designing a menu?
I would have to say balance and honesty, keep the ingredients honest, balanced and seasonal. I like to think about if I was going to sit down and have a winter lunch or a spring dessert. What would I like to eat or how would it make me feel. I want it to taste delicious but it’s important that it is also memorable too!
How do you come up with such innovative and delicious dishes, and how much effort goes into it?
I have always been the guy that reads a books or magazine from the back to the front and my thought process when it comes to dishes is the same (maybe that’s why I like to play with desserts). I always think what do I want to achieve in this dish and then I work my way back in my mind or on paper. I then think about season, combination and umami and how can I execute it so that it will bring a wow factor. It’s all these things that will make a dish special and memorable.
You started your Sake adventures in the Sydney restaurant and then moved to Melbourne to take up the Executive Chef role at Hamer Hall. Do you see any differences between the palates of our northern neighbours and us here in Melbourne?
The biggest difference I have seen is just how much people in Melbourne really love food and how many festivals they have to celebrate it. It’s wonderful to be a part of that culture now.
For those that have never been to Sake, what are some of the most popular dishes on the menu?
For a savoury choice I would have to say Charcoal Lamb Shoulder, salted sesame praline & broken nori. It’s a dish that people are surprised with as it’s not really something they have tried or expected but it’s a very moreish dish. As for the desserts the Goma is the clear favourite.
Do you have any favourites?
I really like our Kingfish Ceviche – Yuzu miso, lime & taro floss. It’s super crisp and just a clean winter dish.
What are your favourite restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney?
I really like The Town Mouse in Carlton, it’s the kind of place I like to eat and relax on a day off … and in Sydney I love Quay. Its simple at its core but amazing every time.
Favourite place to travel to and why? (and are there any favourite restaurants at your favourite place?)
I always love to visit Tokyo – it feels like home away from home. No matter how often I visit or have stayed there is always something and out there its just exciting and the food scene is on a knifes edge… its fantastic.
Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne,
100 St Kilda Rd,
Melbourne VIC 3004
Ph. +61 (3) 86870775