The Place I checked out Sakemaru Artisan Sake Hideout recently along South Bridge Road, a restaurant which specialises in Sake pairing along with its Kappo-style Japanese cuisine.
The space of Sakemaru is industrial style, unlike the typical conventional Japanese omakase setting. There are counter seats and regular tables, and the menu is a mix of ala carte and omakase set menus.
The Sake labels are impressive, with over 300 types of Sake available in any one season. I went for the 15-Course Omakase Menu (from S$200) and you can opt for Sake pairing as well. The food menu is seasonal and it changes every three months.
For a start, I had the Apple and Tiger Shrimp with Sesame Tofu Sauce, a refreshing cold starter. The surprise lies in the Apple, where the indulgent Uni Beef Sushi hides within. As expected, it is a very flavourful piece of sushi.
The Sake I had with this dish was the Tatenokawa Muga Junmai Daiginjo Nama from Yamagata Prefecture and it spots brown sugar sweetness with effervescence.
The appetiser course was the Matsutake Mushroom and Rock Fish Soup Steamed In Teapot. Matsutake Mushroom is an autumn ingredient and this comforting soup in a teapot is really good, where you get a soothing dashi broth within. There is a small lime by the side which enhances the flavour of the soup. I also enjoyed the fresh fish meat in the soup.
For the Nigiri course, I had the Conger Eel Sushi and the eel was served in a bowl of rice with freshly grated wasabi. The Sake paired here is the Gangi Another from Yamaguchi Prefecture which spots a refreshing and light pineapple profile.
Next up was a series of three types of Sashimi – Yellow Tail & Barracuda; Pacific Saury; and my favourite of the lot, Blue-fin Tuna.
The Sake paired here is the Kirakucho Wakanae, from Shiga Prefecture which spots a refreshing and clean profile.
For the grill dish, I had the Grilled Miyazaki A5 Wagyu Sirloin with Hoba Leaf & Japanese Vegetables. It is quite an interesting presentation and the tender pieces of prized Wagyu beef is lovely.
The Sake paired here is the Shinomine Vert 80 from Nara Prefecture, served warm which spots olives and rich taste profile.
The next course was the Hairy Crab with Tosazu Jelly Sauce. I love the slightly zesty jelly sauce which is refreshing on the palate. This is paired with the Machida Shuzo MAX from Gunma Prefecture which spots a fruity profile.
For the Deep-Fried course, I had the Fig Tempura & Deep-fried Pacific Saury Rolled with Shiso Basil. You get a light tempura batter, and it reminds me of my tempura experience in Japan.
This is paired with the Junsei Aiyama Kimoto Galaxy from Hyogo Prefecture which spots a slightly cloudy with a rich and plump rice body.
The last savoury course was a rice dish, and I had the Mushroom and Sea Eel Claypot Rice, Miso Soup.
This is paired with the Shinkame Junmai Ancient 16 years from Saitama Prefecture which spots a deep rich mushrooms and soysauce flavour profile. This aged Sake is heavy in its smell and flavour, and I don’t think it is for everyone.
Dessert was the Shine Muscat Daifuku.
Rants With a strong focus on sake, rather than having the sake to pair the dishes, how about creating dishes to pair with various types of sake? Perhaps different grade of sake omakase menu? Just some thoughts on how the restaurant could further differentiate itself from other Japanese omakase concepts.
Will I Return Again? This is a restaurant to check out if you love Kappo-style omakase, and of course it is a bonus if you are a Sake lover. The dining vibe is not as formal as traditional Japanese omakase restaurants, which may not be a bad thing if you just want to unwind with a good meal and drinks on hand.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Sakemaru Artisan Sake Hideout
55 South Bridge Road
Tel: +65 6513 2789
Monday to Thursday: 5pm to 10:30pm
Friday to Saturday: 3pm to 10:30pm
Closed on Sundays
Ranted by The Ranter