SYDNEY | When I heard that Matt Young of specialist junmai sake importer Black Market Sake was opening his own bar, ANTE, dedicated to “sake and sounds”, I knew I had to check it out.
Ante is modelled after a jazzu kissa, a jazz cafe where the music is as important as the drinks. With around 2,500 records from Matt’s personal vinyl collection, there’s no shortage of quality tunes playing through the speakers.
To drink, it’s a rotating selection of around 65 sakes. All premium, ranging from safe to adventurous. Tasting flights are available, with a detailed menu, split by region and producer, and informative staff, helping to guide you. There’s also top notch wine, craft beer, and spirits.
Head Chef Jemma Whiteman’s (ex Billy Kwong, Lankan Filling Station) European/Japanese menu is as much a reason to visit Ante as the drinks. The small plates work well as snacks to be enjoyed while you sip on a drink, but you can also DIY a very satisfying degustation-type meal.
Must order is the tagliatelle with fermented shiitake mushrooms and sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s a luxurious umami-heavy delight. Also try the beef tartare with smoky almond, pickled green olive, and roasted rice. It’s a light balance of flavour and texture.
Ensure you leave room for dessert. The black sugar custard with aged mirin is a malty, rich in flavour, light in texture riff on crème caramel. It’s one of the best sweet things I’ve eaten all year. Enjoy it with a glass of Ine Mankai from Kyoto’s Mukai Shuzo. It’s a red rice sake with a unique flavour profile that perfectly matches the dessert.
146 King Street
New South Wales 2042
Thu – Fri: 5:00pm to 12:00am
Sat – Sun: 12:00pm to 12:00am