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[Pictures by David Straight]

You will not find Kewpie mayonnaise or Karaage chicken on the menu at Sake Bar 601. The menu is as clean and light as the décor – whitewashed walls, wooden floors. This is an airy, relaxed space, as good for weekday lunches as it is for an easy dinner.

Recently, we enjoyed a simple, fresh sashimi platter ($13) with kingfish, alfonsio, salmon and snapper. It was generous and very fresh. You can choose to have nutty, deep purple wild rice rather than white if you like. The miso is deep and earthy, homemade with chunks of carrot, mushroom. The daily specials are traditional – when we visited we had salmon head and wing on rice ($10).

Sushi is hand-rolled, charmingly rustic and always fresh and big. There is organic buckwheat tea, many kinds of sake and seasonal desserts – perhaps a grilled organic apple with a dollop of raspberry icecream on top, served in the frypan.

We like that it’s outside of the usual restaurant triangle, that it’s entirely unpretentious, very healthy, often seasonal and always delicious. We could recite the pedigree of the owners – Tanuki’s Cave, Katsura – but the place speaks for itself and exists unto its own. The laidback nature of the place could be attributed to the owners’ surfing habit – as could the Hawaiian notes in the décor. NS

HOURS Lunch, Tuesday to Sunday, 11:30-1:30. Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm to 9:30.

ADDRESS 601 New North Road, Morningside, ph 849-7268. 

OF NOTE Extremely vegetarian friendly, and plenty of organic, seasonal produce used; although not entirely.


  1. Genie wrote:

    Great review. I’ve passed this little place many times and have always been curious what it is like. It looks lovely and refreshingly different to other Japanese restaurants in Auckland.

    Monday, April 2, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink
  2. Sounds rather gorgeous. Glad to hear the miso’s good. And I LOVE sake…

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink
  3. Vikki wrote:

    Eaten there many times. Lovely food and warm, friendly service. Your meal is cooked in front of you (literally) from their small kitchen behind the bar. This adds to the experience. Cozy, relaxed atmosphere. Yum!

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

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