If there’s one thing we Singaporeans love, it’s fresh and premium seafood. Go to a good buffet, and you’ll find a queue at the seafood section.
Pairing alcoholic beverages with seafood isn’t new—just think beers with grilled prawns, or white wine with sea bass or oysters. But what about Japanese sake with seafood?
Enjoying seafood with sake makes sense—this fermented alcoholic beverage actually helps to enhance the umami flavour of seafood dishes, and reduce the unpleasant “fishy” taste. And the right sake actually helps to bring out bolder and more defined flavours of each seafood dish.
If you’re wondering where some of the best places are to try sake with seafood, mark your calendars for 1 October – 30 November 2019. During this two-month period, head over to selected fine dining restaurants for dishes paired with top-notch sake from various prefectures in Japan. These prestigious sake brands have even been recognised at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) Sake Competition.
Check out this list of highly-acclaimed restaurants in Singapore to savour fresh seafood with sake to find out more about this harmonious pairing!
This restaurant in Mandarin Gallery was awarded one Michelin star in 2016, so you can be sure that they know their stuff. béni serves up French fine dining using Japanese produce, to bring you on a culinary experience with Chef Kenji Yamanaka.
The Signature Scallop comes as part of the eight-course dinner degustation menu, and features pan-seared Hokkaido scallop topped with celeriac puree and black truffle sauce. It’s served with a crispy squid chip in a lattice for added texture and colour.
Pair this with the ZAKU Kanade No Tomo, a subtle and smooth Junmai ginjo with a refreshing aroma of pineapples and melon. It’s sure to brighten the scallop, and add some zest to the dish.
If you’re looking for something more filling, the Antonius Oscietra Caviar can help with that. This homemade ravioli is stuffed with fresh uni (sea urchin) and fennel cream, and finished with a topping of Antonius Ocietra Caviar from Poland and hot langostine sauce.
For this, enjoy it with the Mutstu Hassen Hanaomoi 40. This elegant sake is fruity with notes of pears and apples, which cuts through the rich and creamy uni.
2. Burnt Ends
Modern Australian barbecue restaurant Burnt Ends brings us its open-concept kitchen with custom-made grills. One of the highlights is the oven fired by coal, apple and almond wood.
Helmed by Chef David Pynt—who has worked with culinary legends like Tetsuya Wakuda, Fergus Henderson and more—this is the place to go for a hearty barbecue.
You don’t usually think of fish when it comes to barbecue, but that’s exactly what you can find at Burnt Ends this sake season. The Kingfish Collar, Miso and Lemongrass is a fatty fish but with a firm texture. While it’s delicious and decadent, it can get a bit too overwhelming on the palate.
But paired with the ZAKU Gen No Tomo, the high acidity helps to cut through the intense flavours and refreshes the palate. Who’s ready for round two?
Treat yourself to a meal with exquisite European creations from CURATE at Resorts World Sentosa. Featuring luxurious interior design, a magnificent open kitchen and a jaw-droppingly impressive wine cellar, you know you’re in for a gastronomic experience.
Guest chefs from overseas Michelin restaurants take over the CURATE kitchen four times a year, and 2019 sees a line-up of chefs renowned for pairing French culinary traditions with Japanese ingredients and influences. This might just be a stellar opportunity to explore the seafood and sake pairing!
For small nibbles, look forward to the Malt Glazed Hokkaido Scallop | Sauerkraut Consomme | Pork Terrine | Parsley Oil. A plump Hokkaido scallop is grilled over binchotan and glazed with malt to enhance its natural sweetness. Topped with meaty pork terrine and drizzled with sauerkraut consommé, it’s finished with a parsley emulsion for a bright herbaceous flavour.
Best enjoyed with the mellow fruity notes of the John Sparkling IWC Trophy 2016, the bubbles help to enhance the flavours and brings out the “green” taste of the dish.
Fish lovers can enjoy the Pan-Seared Pike Perch | Smoked Beurre Blanc | Le Puy Lentils, a firm white fish that’s served with a crisp skin. The smoked beurre blanc sauce and Le Puy lentils add an earthy, creamy flavour to this dish.
Light and vivacious, the Tatenokawa Seiryu complements the perch well. This fruity sake with a touch of acidity is made with Yamagata Prefecture original sake rice Dewasansan, milled so that only 50% of the grain remains.
CURATE: 8 Sentosa Gateway, The Forum, Level 1, Resorts World Sentosa, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098269 | Tel: +65 6577 7288 / +65 6577 6688 | Opening Hours: 6pm – 10pm (Thu – Mon), Closed on Tue & Wed | Facebook | Instagram | Website
4. FOC Restaurant
You wouldn’t think that Barcelona tapas would go well with sake, but FOC Restaurant on Hong Kong Street is here to prove you wrong.
With an interesting menu that pays homage to Spanish and Catalan cuisine, yet adapted to the Singaporean palate, this is a good spot to try out some unconventional pairings.
Their signature dish is the Squid Ink Paella, a staple at most Spanish and Catalan restaurants.
Another dish to try is the Grilled Mediterranean Tuna Belly With Strawberries & Green Apples, which boasts rather fatty tuna. Sip on some Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50 for a harmonious blend of flavours.
This 30-seater at Orchard Road exudes sophistication and charm—Iggy’s offers an elegant and intimate gastronomic experience through its fresh seasonal produce from Japan.
Not only has culinary director Ignatius “Iggy” Chan come up with modern European dishes with hints of Asian influence, this wine sommelier’s wine cellar now holds over 25,000 bottles of wine.
The dynamic menu features oceanic delights like Hokkaido Scallop Tartare, Bafun Uni, Oscietra Caviar & Coriander Oil—a lovely sweet scallop dish with fresh bafun uni.
The sake of choice is the Kinryo Junmai Yamahai, a super dry sake with earthy notes and a hint of sherry-like flavour that pairs well with the delicate, clean, and sweet scallop.
For something heavier on the palate, the Grilled Amadai With Smoked Zucchni, Cabbage Wrapped Luffa & Seaweed-Butter Sauce. Smoky yet delicate, the amadai packs even more of a punch with a glass of sake.
The Hideyoshi Junmai Daiginjo is a good match, with citrus aromatics and tropical fruits. Rich and medium-bodied, it complements the umami seaweed-butter sauce.
You’ll definitely be to tucking in to more than just a few morsels here at this restaurant. Morsels is a 40-seater restaurant nestled in the lush greenery of Dempsey Hill, run by chef-owner Petrina Loh.
Take a look at the menu and you’ll find creative fusion dishes, with a carefully curated list of wines, craft beers, house-infused cocktails and sake. What better way to try a seafood and sake pairing, than with the experimental fusion cuisine from Le Cordon Bleu graduate Petrina Loh?
Start the meal off on a lighter note with this oyster dish, with oyster on half, mangosteen shrub, marigold cress, Himono Kuhlbarra barramundi, berry jam, and toast. Pair this with the bright and lively Mutsu Hassen Pink Label, which has a good acidity that goes well with the mangosteen shrub and fruit jam.
Move on to the Wild Sri-Lankan Prawns, Pistachio Yogurt, Scamorza Sweet Potato and Venus Clams, Fig Chicken Broth, Homemade Kimchi. Light on the palate with a slight mineral undertone, the Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50 is a good complement to the two appetisers. The fruit aromas, in particular, go very well with the clams and sweet fig chicken broth.
Morsels: 25 Dempsey Road, #01-04, Singapore 249670 | Tel: +65 6266 3822 | Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm (Tue – Sat), 11am – 3pm (Sun), 6pm – 10.30pm (Tue – Thu), 6pm – 11pm (Fri & Sat), Closed on Mon | Facebook | Instagram | Website
Fine dining takes on a creative turn with Nouri on Amoy Street. Like its chef and owner Ivan Brehm—who has a mixed heritage of Italian, German, Russian, Spanish, Lebanese, Syrian and Brazilian—this one Michelin-starred restaurant serves up cuisine that’s just as eclectic to excite the senses.
Scallop dishes aren’t uncommon, but scallop with coconut? Injecting tropical notes into the sweet seafood dish, the Scallop Coconut from Nouri is one where culinary influences intersect.
Add into the mix a glass of Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50, and you have a harmonious blend of herbaceous and floral notes, together with aromatics from the sake. Made with highly polished rice, each sip slides smoothly down your throat.
The Black Pepper Crab may sound like our Singaporean zi char favourite, but Nouri puts a fine dining twist on this hearty crab dish.
The rich black pepper sauce meets its complementary counterpart with the Shimazaki Junmai Yamahai Uroko. Yamahai-style extended fermentation creates a layer of acidity that isn’t too biting on the palate, but balances out the sauce.
Contemporary dining concept Preludio is unlike anything you’ve seen before. Helmed by Chef Fernando Arévalo, the menu at Preludio cycles through culinary chapters (similar to couture collections from fashion houses) which run for 12 – 18 months.
It’s only fitting that such an exclusive concept would use rare ingredients like monkfish. The Monkfish | Seasonal Mushrooms | Truffle | Cod Liver is plated beautifully, with real slices of truffle balanced atop neat slabs of monkfish. Sweet, firm-fleshed and lean, the monkfish stands up easily to the complex and earthy Kamoizumi Aged Junmai Ginjo Sachi 1997.
Just a touch of vin jaune (yellow wine) sauce for the monkfish melds the dish with the ageing notes of this sake, for a fascinating gastronomic experience.
Jumping to a lighter dish, the Nantucket Scallop | Black Garlic | Salted Corn combines creamy poached scallop with punchy black garlic and corn.
Pairing this scallop dish with the ZAKU Kanade No Tomo complements without overwhelming the delicate flavours, and the clean and lasting sake holds notes of yoghurt that matches the creamy scallop.
Preludio: 182 Cecil Street, #03-01/02, Frasers Tower, Singapore 069547 | Tel: +65 6904 5686 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm (Mon – Fri), 6pm – 10pm (Mon – Sat), Closed on Sun | Facebook | Instagram | Website
9. Punjab Grill
Who would’ve thought that even Indian cuisine could go well with sake? But of course, if anyone can pull it off, it has to be Punjab Grill in Marina Bay Sands. Chef Javed Ahamad has spent more than 11 years in various Indian restaurants in Singapore, and has refined his skills of creating unique Indian dishes for the Singaporean palate.
Light and aromatic Indian dishes like the Chargrilled Basil & Grainy Mustard Flavor Barramundi Fish Tikka pair the best with sake. The smooth and well-polished Uzume Tokubetsu Junmai makes for a well-balanced pairing with the mild spices of this fish dish.
Venturing further into Indian spices, the Pan-Seared Tellicherry Pepper Prawn, Coconut & Curry Leaves Sauce features aromatic pepper prawns with a fragrant, spicy curry leaves sauce. The Kinryo Junmai Yamahai has a soft texture and gentle sweetness, with a round, fruity aroma that brings out the curry spice even more.
Punjab Grill: 2 Bayfront Avenue, #B1-01A, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, South Podium, Singapore 018972 | Tel: +65 6688 7395 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.45pm & 6.30pm – 10.30pm (Daily) | Facebook | Website
Situated within the historical CHIJMES landmark, Whitegrass offers classical French fare—but with a contemporary Japanese twist. This 40-seater restaurant follows the culinary principle of “La Cuisine Naturelle” (cuisine of the natural body), so expect a celebration of natural produce and seasonal degustation menus.
Helmed by Chef Takuya Yamashita, his nature-inspired cuisine blends French culinary techniques with Japanese sensibilities.
Credit – JFOODO
The INA Mackerel, Fennel, Apple Fuji presents a vinegared mackerel with herbaceous fennel. Paired with ALPHA Kaze no Mori TYPE 3, the delicate and refreshing notes of lychee, melon, mandarin, nectarine and even custard apple go very well with the light taste and fresh herbs.
Inspired by the Shanghai crab stewed noodle, the Hokkaido Crab, Somen, Sherry Vinegar showcases somen (hand-pulled noodles) from Chef Takuya’s hometown, Nara prefecture. Fresh King Crabs from Hokkaido complete this dish and add a sweet, fibrous meatiness.
What’s interesting to note is that pairing this dish with a glass of sake—specifically, Hanahato Kijoshu Aged 8 Years—acts as a final “condiment” for a more well-rounded taste.
Sister restaurant to three Michelin Star Frantzén in Sweden, Zén presents a carefully curated tasting menu that has both local and world-class delicacies. Spanning three floors within a classic shophouse in Bukit Pasoh, you can expect a gastronomic experience with Chef Tristin Farmer.
Blending Nordic and Japanese cuisines, this unique dining concept is a must-try for food aficionados.
The Chawanmushi, Pork Belly Dashi Topped With Rossini Golden Osetra Caviar is a decadent starter indeed. The pops of umami and oceanic flavour from the caviar against the backdrop of the smooth steamed egg are bound to delight.
Paired with the Tamagawa Spontaneous Fermentation Junmaishu (Yamahai) “Vintage”, the heady umami notes are intensified while the roasted nutty taste complement and enhance the natural caviar.
Another scallop dish, but this time with Nordic influences. The Norwegian Scallop & Bafun Uni Crudo With Fermented Plum & Salted Tomato Water, Watermelon Radish & Olive Oil is simple, fresh and oceanic—but with a hint of light savoury notes.
Enjoy it with the John Sparkling IWC Trophy 2016, with bright melon notes blending into savoury flavour. Mid-palate, it moves to umami and citrus which matches the uni and plum easily. Finishing off on a crisp, dry note and slight effervescence, this simple pairing hides a wealth of exciting flavours.
Piqued your interest yet? Let us know in the comments which is your top pick for sake and seafood.
*This post is brought to you in partnership with JFOODO.