Drinking highly polished Junmai Daiginjos chilled and within a year from its release is the epitome of sake enjoyment – at least that’s what conventional wisdom tells us.
At the newly opened Table 33, the sake-focused bar extension of Ishinomaki Grill & Sake at Palais Renaissance, enjoying sake comes in myriad more forms. With more than 180 sake labels sourced across Japan’s 47 prefectures, there’s plenty to explore in terms of quantity alone.
Yet co-founder Janice Chi – a certified sake sommelier and sake scholar – believes that there’s more to sake than just variety and polishing ratios. At Table 33, she hopes to correct some of the misunderstandings people have about sakes and how they’re meant to be drunk.
“There is this misconception that hot sake is only for cheap sakes,” she states. “Enjoying sakes that are warmed up actually helps to enhance their umami notes and elevate the appreciation.”
Chi adds that the challenge comes from knowing what exact temperatures to serve each and every sake at, since no two sakes are the same. One expression might perform best at 40°C, while for another, a 50°C mark will be needed to better allow once dormant notes to surface.
With Table 33’s hot sake programme, trained sake sommeliers are on hand to not only warm sakes up to their ideal temperatures, but are able to explain to guests why they are doing so as well. This is especially important given how the aforementioned misconceptions are rife.
The unique offerings at Table 33 goes beyond temperatures. Impressively, Chi house-ages some of her sakes too. While it may often be the case where a brewer’s intention is for people to drink their sakes relatively fresh, flavours that develop over long periods of time in sakes may actually do them a lot of good.
Chi hand picks the sakes that undergo this process, according to her experience with how they might turn out. Not all are aged the same either. Some are aged in-bottle at room temperature, while others are given the cold treatment in the fridge.
Table 33 also takes pride in the exclusive bottles they carry. A couple of sakes are bought by the tank-load from the brewery, such as the snow-aged Ippongi Daiginjo from Fukui, ensuring only they carry that particular expression. Chi is also part of the Akita G Club, where members get exclusive access to certain brewery releases.
Guests can choose to enjoy the sakes in various volume formats too. Seasonal hot sakes range from S$28-60 for a 220ml serve, chilled 300ml carafes are between S$28 and S$70, while 720ml bottle prices start from S$85.
To complete the experience, Table 33 offers a Japanese bar snack menu to complement the sakes offered, as well as Japanese whiskies, champagnes, and wines just in case you’re in the mood for other tipples.
But trust us: you’ll want to try as many of Chi’s house-aged sakes as you can, including those she picked for enjoying warm. Not only will it broaden your mindset about sake, you might just find yourself a favourite new expression.
Table 33 is located at #B1-11 Palais Renaissance, 390 Orchard Road, Singapore 238871.
About the Author
Dannon Har is the Managing Editor of Spill. Discovering his innate gift for drinking only at a ripe age, he spares no time trying to find more delicious drops to imbibe during his time on Earth. When he’s not minding every detail at Spill, he spends his time concocting luscious libations and sharing them with folks that visit his home bar.