Located in the heart of Goa's most happening spot, Assagao, Saké – The Asian Lounge, stands out amongst the myriad new restaurants and bars opening on the stretch. With its simple, eclectic decor, varied menu ranging from Japanese to Cantonese, warm staff and beautiful location, Saké is becoming a favourite among the local as well as the expat community. The weekends especially are reserved for locals from different parts who drive to the restaurant with family or friends for a wholesome Asian meal.
The restaurant is spread across two levels, with private dining areas on the lower floor. With a sprawling bar across the length of the restaurant, a series of lights and minimal decor sans the typical Asian elements make the place seem classy and chique.
The dim lighting and performance area ensure the place can easily be converted into a performance zone. With occasional live music and DJ nights, Saké is creating the buzz for all the right reasons. By not just restricting themselves to good food, but focussing on a brilliant bar programme, events and excellent service – Saké The Asian Lounge does justice to its name. Saké is the most popular Japanese rice wine and the restaurant does justice to it.
The bar menu is designed in such a way that everyone can enjoy it with a choice of different types of interesting and Instagram-worthy cocktails. It features a range of signature cocktails and a specially assigned space for gin cocktails and sakes. The bar features the best wine and spirit brands in the market currently, including Pan Asian spirits. The Saké Bomb, Sake Mahõ and You Give Me Butterflies are just some of the cocktails that interest people with their unique elements like edible butterflies, bubbles and fist bangs!
Rohan Barbosa, who has designed the cocktail menu keeping in mind the kind of crowd Assagao gets, says, "The bar menu is all about modern mixology. Most of the drinks are inspired by Japanese culture and ingredients. We have some technique-forward cocktails like Sake Mahō, which is a clarified drink with a smoke bubble. Something very new for Goa. So Matcha Better is a twist on a classic Pina Colada, which has been clarified and then served over a clear ice block with matcha foam. We also have a separate category of Gin Highball which is quite fruity, refreshing and tropical. This highball category has been designed by keeping in mind the growing gin culture in India. We also have cocktails like Ume Negroni and Un-fig-table for those who enjoy spirit-forwarded cocktails."
The food menu is carefully crafted by celebrity chef Harsh Dixit, who happens to be Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor's favourite private chef for years. Having worked closely with several Cantonese and Japanese restaurants in metro cities, he has brought out the best in the segment to the diners in Goa. Saké serves his signature, Sushi on Crack, which is essentially a deconstructed sushi, served on seaweed and rice crackers instead of rolls. A unique mix of seafood, seaweed, wasabi and the crunch of the cracker gives diners an interesting and unique experience. They make it in three variants – avocado and spicy carrot tartare, salmon and wasabi mayo and tuna and wasabi mayo – all served on seaweed and rice crackers.
The sushi menu features a vast range of classic rolls (Maki or Uramaki style rolls) like the avocado and cream cheese roll, salmon cucumber maki roll, tuna avocado maki roll and California roll (with cucumber, crabstick and avocado). They've worked on some interesting sushi rolls like the blue pea flower roll (where the rice is infused with blue pea) and the fully loaded roll with salmon, tuna, avocado, crabstick and tobiko, giving diners an excellent gourmet experience. Their Avocado, Miso Aubergine, Salmon, Tuna, Yellowtail Himachi and Crabstick Nigiris are well-received too.
Their salads, small plates and mains feature a lot of the Asian classics alongside new introductions. Other than the classics, their rice menu features a 5-spiced duck fried rice and prawn and xo fried rice. Their pork, chicken and mushroom ramens are made in the Tonkotsu and Tantanmein style, giving the audience a familiar taste and flavour profile. Their Aburi Chirashi made with torched salmon, tuna and fish skin furikake on a bed of rice is a must try, if you enjoy exploring different flavours and textures.
Apart from that, they serve Cheung Fun, which is essentially steamed rice sheets wrapped around stuffing like triple mushrooms, steamed prawns, chicken and cilantro and others. The Bao's, steamed breads with stuffings like fish tempura, chicken katsu or char sui pork belly are much loved. The Miso Soup with tofu and wakamame is something I never miss out on every time I visit. The dumplings, gyozas and wontons – steamed, poached or fried are a perfect rainy day indulgence. Made with a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian stuffings, they're a crowd favourite. The vast menu with a variety of dishes to pick from, and ample options in both veg and non-veg, has made sure it suits varied palates.
The dessert menu comprises inspired Asian delicacies, and each one is more interesting than the other. The rich and decadent Nama Chocolate (their take on the popular Japanese dark chocolate) is my absolute personal favourite. The Kaya Toast is a twist on the Singaporean breakfast classic made with kaya (a jam made with coconut, palm sugar and pandan leaves). For the lovers of sushi, they have a well-balanced dessert version of the Nigiri – Mango Nigiri with sweetened coconut milk and spicy chilli salt. The sticky date cake with whiskey toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream is the perfect end to a delicious Asian dining experience.
NAME OF THE OUTLET: Saké – The Asian Lounge
OPEN FOR: Dine in
TIMINGS: 7pm onwards