Over the last decade, our tastes have fundamentally changed. The American obsession with craft brewing came to the UK shores and introduced us to resinous, bitter hoppy flavours through big IPAs. Likewise, the gin revolution – ginvolution perhaps – has introduced us to a whole new spectrum of flavours, ranging from the highly citric, through to the herbal, woody and sometimes medicinal. Our eyes have been opened to the enjoyment new beverages can bring. There is however one major category of alcohol that sits on the periphery: sake. This ancient brewed rice beverage is still to this day regarded as insipid and, sometimes, stomach-churningly bad. But, much like tequila, our first experience is often with the poor quality examples that leave a bad taste on our palates and minds. sake can be mind-blowingly good, so when the opportunity came to have artisan sake from the UK’s best importer paired with seafood delights from the Oystermen in Covent Garden, I knew I was in for something special!
Six courses paired with no fewer than seven sake! We kicked off with classic straight up oysters (Kumamoto if you’re asking) coupled with a couple of fresh light aromatic sake. Then head first into the next course, bream carpaccio, succulent, dainty and elegant. This was paired with the even more dainty and elegant Silent Blossom Fukukomachi. Next up was my favourite dish of the extravagance: Oyster Stout braised beef shin and oyster pie… well the menu said pie it was actually just an oyster cooked in its shell with the beef shin in it and panko bread crumbs on it, my oh my what a treat! This was paired with the simply named Aperitif, a rare aged sake showing us that whilst 99% of all sake is drunk fresh, a few are actually aged and they are beautiful! We then had some cuttlefish orzo with squid ink aioli paired with Black Face a great smooth and refreshing number. Straight up classic tempura came with the attractively named Misty Mountain, a rich cloudy guy. The finale was a tasty peach with plum sake. Winnig!
What a wonderful evening of unknown flavours and treats. I’m most definitely a convert now!
- Konishi Gold Daiginjo Hiyashibori Hyogo (available at Jeroboams)
- Tatenokawa 50 Stream Junmai Daiginjo Yamagata (available at Jeroboams)
- Silent Blossom Fukukomachi Junmai Daiginjo Akita
- Aperitif Junmai Daiginjo Gifu
- Black Face Junmai Daiginjo Gifu
- Misty Mountain Junmai Usu-Nigori (Bodaimoto) Okayama