Sake omakase pairing: Kakure at 29 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228224

Kakure is a new sake bar which offers one of the largest collection of unique and limited import of handcrafted sakes in Singapore. It is from the same guys behind Ki-sho, the Japanese restaurant at level 1 of the beautiful colonial house along Scotts Road, featuring Ki-sho’s chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto and two kikisake-shi or certified sake sommeliers John and Makoto to come up with perfect omakase bar cuisine ($88) and sake pairings (prices depending on the sakes, or a tasting set of 3 junmai daiginjo for $58).

Kakure’s interior has been carefully designed to reflect the look of Japanese inns and homes during the Meiji and Taisho eras of Japanese history, and I found out that the wooden counter’s carved from Japan’s national tree, the suji (from which sake barrels are also built).

The bar cuisine is meant to be similar to traditional sake accompaniments, but with the chef’s own twist to it, and according also to seasonal ingredients. We started with an assortment of pickles ($6) which had young ginger, wasabi yam, spicy sea kelp and yuzu pickled radish (not pictured). They were really refreshing, light and full of classic Japanese flavours! 

For the first course, we tried the Tsubugai, or Japanese sea snail. This was paired with a Masuizumi Daiginjo Kotobuki ($208++ per bottle) from Toyama. I love how the sea snail was light and slightly crunchy, and the sake easy to drink (the courses should increase in intensity and flavour, after all).

For our second course, I tried Kurobuta Kunsei (from Kagoshima), which is kurobuta pork that’s cured in-house by the chef. It was paired with a Taka Junmai Ginjo Yamada Nishiki ($138++ per bottle) which has a polish rate 50%, from Yamaguchi. Lovely as well. In fact, all the sakes were so easy to drink, it's hard to be really precise with describing of the flavours. I do know however that this sake was chosen to be served in El Bulli, one of the top restaurants in the world.

The third course was the Kohada Tempura, which was gizzard shad wrapped in shiso leaf, along with a grilled oyster. For this our sake sommelier chose something stronger of course. The Kimonoi Junmai Ginjo Yamahai ($178++ per bottle) with polish rate of 40%, from Niigata. I love that I'm eating really weird food so far, and not your typical Japanese sashimi. 

By the way, I read that the less the polish rate the more premium it is. This table might do better to explain how sake is classified.

While eating, we asked our friendly Japanese sommelier on what would pair well with local food, like chicken rice. This is what he recommended. Now you know!

Each of the container for the sake differs. For the first 2 or 3 sakes, we had wine glasses for us to smell the sake better. Then there are little beautiful cups like this.

For our fourth course, we had Tai Tan, which is classic Kyoto soup flavoured with homemade bonito, seaweed, dashi stock, chicken consomme, served with radish and tofu paired with a Chikuha Junmai ($130++ per bottle), with polish rate of 55% from Ishikawa. I think this was my favorite dish so far because it was just so simple, homely but delicious.

Our fifth course was the Buta Kakuni, which was shoyu-braised pork belly from the Kagoshima Prefecture paired with the Shichida Junmai Daiginjo ($268++ per bottle, polish rate 45% from Saga). I remember being awfully pleased by this pork belly, finishing it in 2 bites, and loving the sake (coincidentally also the most expensive of the lot).

To end off the six course menu, we had a light and refreshing Ikura Cha Soba Matcha - cold noodles served with fresh Salmon roe and topped with Japanese seaweed and spring onions. This was paired with a cup of Kikuhime Kinken Junmai ($140++ per bottle. Polish rate 65%. From Ishikawa). I loved it so much because you'd seldom think of pairing cold soba with sake!

Here's the complete lineup. I was a little tipsy by the end of the light dinner with sake pairing, but felt really good because the sakes were so easy to drink, so delightful, it was like spring water on a warm summer's day. For those looking for quality sake, visit Kakure. Ganbai!

29 Scotts Road, Level 2, Singapore 228224
+65 67335251
Mondays to Saturdays: 6.30pm – 1am
Closed on Sundays

Thanks to Kakure and Food News PR for the invite!

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