Fusion dining gets a bad wrap at times, conjuring up images of a cross-continental mishmash that pays little attention to culture or tradition. But occasionally, a restaurant comes along that pushes the envelope (and national borders) so far that the novelty factor supersedes all else.
Melbourne’s Sash is one such instance where the flavours and fun-factor outshine the need for cuisine labelling. Their technicolor Japanese-style pizzas, tacos and sliders have proven such a hit on Chapel Street’s Windsor end that they’re crossing borders themselves, expanding over into fresh digs in Sydney’s Surry Hills this Easter.
“We stumbled across a sashimi-style pizza that won the pizza of the year award in Las Vegas and we were pretty blown away by it,” recalls co-owner Dave Nelson, “so we saw an opportunity to turn a once-off product into a whole concept.”
The term ‘pizza’ is used loosely here to describe two styles of base: one is made with blackened squid ink dough; the other is built on crisp oven-baked rice – a ‘sashizza’, if you will. The toppings are equally playful, with sashimi-style ahi tuna cosying up to avocado, strawberry, mango and wasabi mayo. Or there’s the equally eccentric yet moreish sticky pulled pork, sweet chilli and apple slaw salad.
The menu covers solid geographical ground from Yakiniky wagyu beef tacos to open poke bowls and crisp chilli mayo prawn sliders. But if you’re able to look past the rules, the rewards are plentiful (or at least, flavourful). Head chef Ken Tut from Ichi Ni and Ichi Ni Nana is well-versed in punchy mod-Asian plates, so you can rest-assured you’re in good hands.
The talent pool extends to the bar with Kyle Rose from Chin Chin and GoGo Bar slinging just the type of drinks you’d expect: fun, Harajuku-style cocktails capitlising on yuzu, plum wine, sake and cherry liquor. For dessert, the macaron ice-cream and dessert taco are hard to look past but if you need something brawnier, make it the apple crumble pizza with miso caramel.
Unlike Chapel Street’s slick, dark and moody fit-out, the Sydney instalment of Sash will be wider and brighter, housed in an old heritage-listed building. “We pulled down the walls of three separate retail stores to make one big venue with views of trains going over Central Station,” Nelson says. “Building should start in two weeks. We’ll launch on Easter weekend.”
Sash Melbourne is open daily, 5:30pm - 11:30pm
113 Chapel Street, Windsor
Sash Sydney will open this Easter at 80 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills