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February 21, 2017

What you’ll be eating at Adelaide’s first saké bar

Oishi guaranteed.

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  • Photography: Jonathan van der Knaap
  • Words: Joshua Fanning

A lot has changed in Adelaide over the past three years.

This change was made clear to us when Matthew Stuckey and Takeshi Iue, who we know as excellent designers, called us up to tell us they were opening a saké bar in the city.


Visit Saké Society
16 Ebenezer Place,
Adelaide SA 5000
Open: Thu – Sat: 6pm – 12 midnight
February 24th – March 11th
Book your seat at one of the Saké Master Classes here.

Disclosure: Joshua Fanning is helping out with Saké Society, and you might even find him behind the bar.

“I just feel the time is right,” says Matt. “There’s no way Adelaide would have supported a saké specialty bar five years ago, or even two years ago maybe.”

The 20 seat Saké Society will open this week on Ebenezer Place in the Rundle Street East neighbourhood, which is known for its cafés and owner-operated shops but has previously been without a bar. Now it will feature Adelaide’s smallest for the next three weeks.

CityMag is excited about this pop-up project because it not only demonstrates the maturation of Adelaide’s food and drink scene (now we’re ready for this oh-so-foreign imbibe), but also because the tiny bar has brought the Japanese community of Adelaide together in a way that’s never been seen before.

“This menu is about simplicity.” – Ichitaro Head Chef, Yew Inn Goh

Ichitaro Dining head chef, Yew Inn Goh, was one of the first to offer his help to Matt and Takeshi. Yew Inn is Malaysian, but his wife is Japanese.

“All the Japanese here know each other,” says Yew  Inn, who then clarifies this is because the community is small.

“Everyone is really excited about the bar opening, my contact at Daiwa keeps asking me for updates.”

As part of Saké Society’s program over its three weekend tenure, saké master Andre Bishop of Melbourne will be running three master classes over three nights. During each class, guests will taste six different saké paired with six different dishes created by Yew Inn.

“This menu is about simplicity,” says Yew Inn, “don’t try and do too much to the dish and let the natural flavours of the dish speak for themselves. Doing too much to food, especially light, delicate fish – it doesn’t work. It destroys the natural flavour.”

Yew Inn came to Japanese food after apprenticing in pubs across Adelaide and graduating from Regency Tafe. When he began work at King William Road’s Ichitaro Dining, he had to learn the intimate and uniquely Japanese approach to food in which everything from ingredients, to presentation, down to the way you slice salmon requires intensive thought.

“The salmon should be sliced a certain way, so that it appears to be swimming on the diner’s plate,” says Yew Inn.

This level of consideration, in CityMag’s opinion, defines an authentic Japanese experience.

Discussing food and flavour as well as friends and the anticipation of good times ahead with Yew Inn, we get the feeling that while Adelaide may not have been ready for Saké Society three years ago, a saké bar in Adelaide has been a long time coming.

Saké Master Sessions Menu

1. Kizakura ‘Piano’ Sparkling (Kyoto) paired with Renkon chips with ikura
2. Asabiraki Junmai Suijin Okarakuchi (Iwate) paired with salmon sashimi wrapped with daikon
3. Dassai 23 Junmai Daiginjo(Yamaguchi) paired with Kingfish sashimi with sweet miso sauce
4. Baba Shuzo Nogomi Junmai Ginjo (Saga) paired with Soba noodles tossed with parmesan cheese and olive oil, served in mentsuyu broth
5. Andre’s Saké Kimoto (Kyoto) paired with Smoked duck breast with dashi marinated cherry tomato
6. Kizakura Nigori (Kyoto) paired with Pork shabu salad with spicy kimchi dressing

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