Chances are, you find yourself wishing for a glass of sake while dining out – be it at a French, Italian or even Indian restaurant. For those who know, know this: While distinctly light and delicate, sake is so widely varied in flavour profile that it is a highly versatile option in food pairing.
In Japan, most people enjoy sake during a meal, and for good reason: Sake brings out the umami in food. The synergistic effect it has when paired with seafood is particularly strong, with the flavours of sake helping to mask or round the unpleasant odour of the seafood.
From Oct 1 to Nov 30, you will be able to savour myriad seafood items at renowned fine dining establishments, with each dish specially paired with a premium sake. The two month-long “Seafood Loves Sake” Restaurant Campaign organised by JFOODO – a new organisation within Japan External Trade Organisation – involves highly acclaimed establishments, including Michelin-star restaurants.
Each restaurant presents a set of seafood dishes unique to their style, and these are paired with prestigious sakes, many of which have been recognised at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) Sake Competition. A pairing of exceptional sakes across different cuisines, this is an experience not to be missed.
One-Michelin-starred béni is where chef Kenji Yamanaka serves a refined Japanese reinterpretation of French cuisine. For the promotion, the chef-owner – known for his expert preparation of wagyu and seafood – presents a ravioli stuffed with Hokkaido sea urchin and fennel cream, topped with Antonius oscietra caviar from Poland and finished with hot langoustine sauce (pictured). This umami explosion is paired with a Mutsu Hassen Hanaomoi 40 – an elegant sake with a fruity aroma. Diners can also look forward to tasting a new dimension of the signature scallop dish paired with ZAKU Kanade No Tomo – a Junmai ginjo with the perfume of pineapple and hints of melon.
#02-37 Mandarin Gallery
Australian chef David Pynt – who has worked under legends such as Tetsuya Wakuda and Rene Redzepi – elevates barbecued food to one-Michelin-star standards at this casual joint with a cult following, located in Chinatown. From his four tonne, dual cavity ovens and three elevation grills comes a meaty dish of kingfish collar (pictured), its rich flavours lifted by miso and lemongrass, and cooked to a beautiful char. Cutting through the fish’s natural fattiness to relieve the palate is ZAKU Gen No Tomo – a sake with a lively acidity.
20 Teck Lim Road
Curate is a unique concept where chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants around the world are invited to showcase their cuisine. Special creations include a malt-glazed Hokkaido scallop caramelised over binchotan, served with pork terrine and braised sauerkraut consomme, and finished with refreshingly herbaceous parsley oil (pictured). This is paired with John Sparkling – winner of the IWC Sparkling Sake Trophy 2016. Other offerings include a pan-seared pike on a smoked beurre blanc sauce with Le Puy lentils, paired with a light, fruity and vivacious Tatenokawa Seiryu.
The Forum, Level 1, Resorts World Sentosa,
8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island
Loved for its boisterous atmosphere and creative tapas, FOC Restaurant is where Barcelonian culinary director Jordi Noguera – in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Nandu Jubany – serves up inventive dishes that pay homage to both Spanish and Catalan cuisine. Think a smoky, tender skewer of grilled Galician octopus and pork belly (pictured), paired with a refreshing Hatsukame Tokubetsu Junmai Homarefuji; or a grilled Mediterranean tuna belly, lifted by the tart flavours of strawberries and green apple, paired with Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50. Their signature squid ink paella with seafood with deep umami notes is also artfully paired with Shimazaki Junmai Yamahai Uroko.
40 Hongkong Street
Iggy’s has been at the forefront of Singapore’s fine dining scene since its 2004 inception, and restaurateur Ignatius Chan continuously pushes boundaries at this one-Michelin-starred destination. The modern European menu has Asian overtones and a focus on seasonal Japanese produce, as exemplified by the cold starter of Hokkaido scallop tartare, bafun uni, oscietra caviar and coriander oil (pictured). A super dry Kinryo Junmai Yamahai with earthy and sherry-like notes goes well with the dish’s natural sweetness. A grilled amadai with smoked zucchini and cabbage wrapped luffa is matched with a rich, medium-sweet style Hideyoshi Junmai Daiginjo that rounds the intense umami of the seaweed-butter sauce.
Level 3, Hilton Singapore
Morsels, named Restaurant of the Year at the 2017 World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence, is a rustic restaurant helmed by banker-turned-chef-owner Petrina Loh. From her comes unexpected flavours, such as a course of oyster with tangy mangosteen shrub (a vinegared fruit syrup) and Himono Kuhlbarra barramundi with berry jam on toast, paired with a bright Mutsu Hassen Pink Label. A starter of wild Sri Lankan prawns, pistachio yogurt and scamorza sweet potato (pictured) is matched with the award-winning Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50; while a Shimazaki Junmai Yamahai Uroko – boasting a honeyed aroma – accentuates the smokey flavours of house-poached charred octopus with squid ink pearl rice risotto and salted egg sauce.
#01-04, 25 Dempsey Road
A chef of Italian, German, Russian, Spanish, Lebanese, Syrian and Brazilian heritage, Ivan Brehm creates a cuisine that transcends food cultures. At one-Michelin-starred Nouri, Brehm delivers modern creations that possess a universal deliciousness. Think a dish of parsley, kulim and hazelnut fish (pictured) paired with a nutty, barrel-aged Kamoizumi Aged Junmai Ginjo Sachi 1997; or a scallop and coconut dish with floral notes echoed by an aromatic Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50. Not to be missed either is Brehm’s rendition of black pepper crab, its richness balanced by the extended fermentation of the Yamahai-style Shimazaki Junmai Yamahai Uroko.
72 Amoy Street
Executive chef Fernando Arevalo’s contemporary restaurant Preludio features an unconventional concept: An annual theme anchors the menus, and each menu evolves organically. The Columbian chef presents pairings such as an earthy, complex Kamoizumi Aged Junmai Ginjo Sachi 1997 with a dish of monkfish, seasonal mushrooms, truffle and cod liver. The Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50 is matched with a dish of obsiblue prawn, mangosteen, almond and caviar, its freshness and lightness enhancing the natural sweetness of the prawns, and the juicy pineapple notes resonating with the fresh mangosteen. A dish of poached Nantucket scallop with black garlic and salted corn (pictured) is paired with a clean-tasting ZAKU Kanade No Tomo.
#03-01/02 Frasers Tower, 182 Cecil Street
Inspired by the splendour of India’s maharajas, Punjab Grill is a luxurious stage for corporate chef Javed Ahamad’s refined creations. Savour the light aromatic flavours of a delicate chargrilled barramundi tikka (pictured), flavoured with basil and grainy mustard, and matched with the rich and earthy Uzume Tokubetsu Junmai that is packed with umami. Another seafood dish to try is a pan-seared tellicherry pepper prawn in coconut and curry leaf sauce, its punchy spiciness rounded by the gentle sweetness and fruity aroma of the Kinryo Junmai Yamahai.
#B1-01A South Podium, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Having honed his skills at award-winning Parisian restaurants and mentored by chef Kazunori Otowa at the one-Michelin-starred Ciel et Sol, head chef Takuya Yamashita of Whitegrass interprets classical French fare with a contemporary Japanese sensibility. From him comes a dish of hand-pulled somen gently stewed with fresh king crabs from Hokkaido (pictured), its umami flavours lifted by the piquant flavours of sherry vinegar – and complemented by a full-bodied Hanahato Kijoshu aged 8 years. A vinegared mackerel is balanced by the light sweetness of Fuji apples and fennel, and matched with a fresh and fruity ALPHA Kaze no Mori TYPE 3.
#01-26 Chjimes, 30 Victoria Street
Sister restaurant to the renowned Frantzen in Stockholm, Zén – helmed by Scottish executive chef Tristin Farmer – has recently been bestowed two Michelin stars of its own. Farmer presents dishes that blend Nordic and Japanese food cultures. A pork belly dashi-chawanmushi topped with Rossini golden oscietra caviar (pictured) pairs beautifully with the Tamagawa Spontaneous Fermentation Junmaishu (Yamahai) “Vintage”, which displays intensely heady umami notes that strike a harmonious chord with the pork dashi. Consider, too, a dish of Norwegian scallop and bafun uni crudo with fermented plum and salted tomato water, watermelon radish and olive oil. It is matched with a delicate yet complex Tosa Brewing Company’s John Sparkling IWC Trophy 2016 that showcases bright melon tones.
41 Bukit Pasoh Road
– Brought to you by JFOODO –