Here's A Restaurant That Understands The Benefits Of Pairing Sake & Japanese Flavours

Drinks

March 30, 2018 | BY Tien Chew

Kikubari at DC Mall has a talented team in the kitchen, creating an interplay between modern Japanese flavours and fine sake to delicious results. Malaysia Tatler heads over to taste a flight of sake handpicked by their sommelier.

Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler
1

Saito Hikari

We start our sake journey at Kikubari with a refreshingly light sparkling sake. Only slightly sweet with a nice pop thanks to the carbonation process, that taste of rice is mild at best, making for an easy-to-like wine.

Recommended dishes

This light sake goes well with fried snacks, thanks to its refreshing sensation, such as the restaurant's enoki chips or crispy prawn heads.

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Here's A Restaurant That Understands The Benefits Of Pairing Sake & Japanese Flavours
Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler
2

Saito Junmai

Take a whiff of the wine before you drink and you'll find a very pleasant rice aroma on the nose. It's extremely light on the palate, with a clean rice taste that doesn't overstay its welcome. A delightful light fruity taste at the end makes it even easier to enjoy.

Recommended dishes

Because of the sake's freshness, recommended dishes at Kikubari that go well with the wine are raw items like carpaccio, either seafood, lamb or beef.

Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler
3

Mentaiko Toast

Kikubari has a list of small eats that are great for snacking and sharing while drinking, starting with the chef's reinterpretation of a Japanese classic – mentaiko toast. Dainty, inviting and topped with a runny egg, the toast itself is fresh with a nice crunch, while the toppings above help to give it a hearty spicy flavour kick that will excite your palate. Especially when you have a glass of sake to enjoy it with.

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Here's A Restaurant That Understands The Benefits Of Pairing Sake & Japanese Flavours
Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler
4

Kuragokoro Junmai Ginjo

We go up a level of complexity with this next bottle, with the Kuragokoro giving off a strong fruity aroma on the nose and a thicker mouth feel. The wine is also heavier on the back of the palate, with a slightly savoury sensation and a distinct umami feel.

Recommended dishes

Great when paired with white meat and salads, order the botan ebi capellini with konbu and truffle dressing for something truly sensational.

Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler
5

Tatenokawa Seiryu Junmai Daiginjo

Next, we have another great sake, made of dewa san san rice that typically yields complex yet mildly fragrant wines without any dryness. Indeed, Tatenokawa's junmai daiginjo was very smooth on the palate, with a mild oily mouth feel and a great rice taste with a strong fruit finish that lingers long enough to appreciate its flavours. 

Recommended dishes

Pan seared or charcoal grilled seasonal fish dishes will be a great companion to this sake.

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Here's A Restaurant That Understands The Benefits Of Pairing Sake & Japanese Flavours
Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler
6

Corn Tartlets

Another snack you can consider when enjoying sake at the restaurant are corn tartlets. Savoury with a hint of umami, these savoury snacks are great as a one bite dish to switch over your palate from rice wine to sweet corn.

Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler
7

Born Gold Junmai Daiginjo

While the first part of this sake's name may initiate a conversational starter, a few glasses of this fine wine will definitely carry the conversation forward. With a fresh aromatic scent and a mild rice taste, this junmai daiginjo has a very long finish that allows time for the sake's sweetness and acidity to mix really well in the mouth. A well balanced wine, this is definitely a bottle best enjoyed shared.

Recommended dishes

The in-house sommelier tells us that this sake will go well with a pan-seared amadai fish. With that being said, there are no hard and fast rules to food pairing, and most seafood dishes would go swimmingly with this bottle.

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Here's A Restaurant That Understands The Benefits Of Pairing Sake & Japanese Flavours
Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler
8

Amabuki Yamahai Junmai

Heavy on the nose with a very apparent rice taste right at the forefront, this is a more complex sake that demands heftier flavours to complement it. Take a sip and the wine makes a strong entrance with an equally strong finish, striking a balance of dryness and sweetness.

Recommended dishes

Red meats would go well with this sake, such as the restaurant's miso lamb loin.

Photo: Shaffiq Farhan/Malaysia Tatler
9

Ebi Katsu Sando

A fantastic interpretation of the beloved katsu sando across Japan, Kikubari does a version made with matcha bread and prawn katsu in lieu of the classic white bread and pork fillet. The sandwich was fluffy and delicious, with a touch of sweetness from the mayo and crunch from the katsu making the dish all more enjoyable. Definitely a winner, pair this with your sake for a pleasant surprise.

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