Tag Archives: Shaun Presland

Stars come out for a Taste of Tennis

The Australian Open is in full swing, and we were lucky enough to be invited as guests to the launch of Swisse Taste of Tennis at the Grand Hyatt last week. Over the past 13 years, AYS Sports Marketing has produced this fantastic event in New York to kick off the US Open Tennis Championships but this was the first time it has hit Australian soil.

George Calombaris, Kerri Anne Kennerley and Lleyton Hewitt

George Calombaris, Kerri Anne Kennerley and Lleyton Hewitt

Kim Attwells and myself had no hesitation in accepting the invitation from Brian Hester, the organizer of the event, who had flown out from the USA. We spent the night mingling with the guests, chatting to the chefs and playing ‘spot the celebrity tennis player.’ With over 400 guests, the event was a great success. There was just one problem – we must have missed the memo that stated, “must be mid-20’s, tanned, good looking, have long legs to attend”.

Maureen with Sake chef Shaun Presland

Maureen with Sake chef Shaun Presland

The fun continued at the after party at Silk Road. Here we had drinks with a very good-looking Argentinean who introduced himself as Horacio Rearte – at the time, we weren’t sure if he was one of the players so we didn’t display our ignorance and ask about his day job, but on googling him back in the hotel room we discovered he is one of the of the world’s most prominent tennis coaches, who has trained the likes of Jennifer Capriati and Andy Roddick.

Melbourne's top chefs and restaurants helped kick off the Australian Open

Melbourne’s top chefs and restaurants helped kick off the Australian Open

Staying at The Grand Hyatt topped off our Melbourne trip, not just because it’s such a beautiful hotel but we also got to rub shoulders with many international tennis stars. It was a lovely treat to just “bump” into the athletes in the lifts and lobby, but going to the gym for a workout riddled us with anxiety. The thought of being on a treadmill besides Roger Federer or doing a few laps alongside Maria Sharapova in her swimmers wasn’t as appealing. Fortunately, our self-esteem remained intact as we were able to work out celebrity-free.

Events like Taste of Tennis make the many hours of working to build de Groots Media worthwhile. It was such a fabulous couple of days and now watching the tennis back in Sydney is even more exciting, having met many of the players and coaches that grace the television screen. I was only disappointed Rafael and Roger were not at the event. Would have loved a pic with them for the de Groots album!

Maureen

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Swisse Taste of Tennis 2013

Restaurant Review: Saké Restaurant & Bar

In 2009, Terry Durack reviewed Saké Restaurant & Bar, saying: “we now have our Nobu Sydney, only better”. Three years down the track, we have Nobu Perth and a mass of other big Japanese restaurant, which leads us to ask, is Saké Restaurant & Bar still that good?

If you go by the fact that it has retained a Chef Hat every year since its opening, then yes. But is the ‘Hat Criteria’ what everyone still desires of their dining experience? The recent shift towards more casual and accessible bistro-style restaurants suggests otherwise. We decided to head to the historic Rocks to find out what Saké Restaurant & Bar offers in 2012.

The sleek interior

At the heart of Saké Restaurant & Bar is Executive Chef Shaun Presland, so a review would not be complete without a brief look at his career. A proud Queenslander, Shaun is now one of Australia’s pre-eminent chefs of Japanese cuisine. His career began in a Ryokan in the mountains of central Japan, where he crafted the skills of the traditional local cuisine. Returning to Australia, he joined the Merivale clan, setting up Sushi-e and later, Ivy Teppanyaki and Sushi Choo. He then headed to the Bahamas where he became executive sous-chef at one of the famous Nobu restaurants. Backed by the omnipotent The Bavarian Hospitality Group (BHG), Saké Restaurant & Bar was born in 2009 with Shaun as Executive Chef. 12 months later, the Sydney Saké was awarded a Chef’s Hat and Brisbane became the home for another Saké restaurant. The evolution of Saké is the ultimate restaurant success story.

Chef Shaun Presland and Chef Shinichi Maeda (from Saké Restaurant & Bar Brisbane)

If you want a traditional sushi bar, then Saké Restaurant & Bar is not for you. It is sleek and modern – with chefs scuttling around wearing red-and-white chequered bandanas and a menu that features popcorn chicken. With various dining spaces – including four exclusive dining rooms, communal banquet tables, sushi bar seating and also a traditional Japanese sunken table – Saké Restaurant & Bar is adaptable and dynamic. The staff, while efficient, border on being overbearing and pretentious. However, the menu will exceed the expectations of even the most fastidious lover of Modern Japanese cuisine. The kingfish and salmon sushi cannot be faulted, the miso marinated butterfish lettuce cups offer a refreshing Japanese take on san choy bow while the teriyaki Wagyu 7+ skewers is beyond tender. The spicy eggplant kushiyaki isn’t memorable however the ‘S express’ sushi roll, filled with scallops, seared salmon and spicy mayo, is the pinnacle of my Saké Restaurant & Bar appreciation.

Anna Lisle

Saké Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Read more about Saké Restaurant & Bar here

Leave a comment

Filed under Saké Restaurant & Bar, The Rocks, Uncategorized