Tasting rooms for wines and spirits are a common enough endeavour nowadays. Yet it is only until now that one has surfaced for Singapore’s sake denizens.
Enter Kabuke Den, a reservations-only tasting room brought to you by the same folks behind sake gastrobar Kabuke. Located within the same shophouse, the den is found just a level up from its eponymous parent, in a quaint third floor attic.
You won’t find the same neon red hues and Kabuki-inspired curtains Kabuke is so iconic for. In its stead is a dimly lit hideaway adorned with elegant sakura branches and vivid paper parasols. It’s classier and more intimate, as it should be.
Sake sommelier and Kabuke Den’s chief sake drinker (as he likes to be known) Keiji Heng helms the programme here. He aims to demystify the art of sake with his tastings, creating an inclusive space where knowledge sharing flows freely.
During our visit, he conducted a tasting themed around omachi – one of many sake rice varietals out there. Heng begins by talking about the general characteristics of the rice and the sakes made using it, before going deeper and pointing out the individual differences of the six omachi sakes we tasted throughout the night.
What we were impressed by is the use of different glassware. Some sakes were served in traditional ochoko, while others were served in wine glasses of varying dimensions. Heng mentions that the wide mouth of traditional sake cups bring out umami notes better, while wine-shaped glasses help heighten fruity aromatics.
The otsumami items, or finger foods meant to be enjoyed with alcohol, were gratifying as well. The smoked daikon radish pickles are the very definition of addictive, while the pickled Japanese bamboo shoots served as a great palate cleanser in-between sakes.
We left the session feeling satisfied, both physically and mentally. Not only were the sakes and dishes yummy, but Heng has also managed to satiate our desire to experience and learn more about sakes and its intricacies in one bite-sized affair.
“We are thrilled to introduce Kabuke Den and share our love for sake,” he says. “Our mission is to communicate the stories behind sake and create an inviting space for everyone to learn, appreciate and enjoy this remarkable Japanese tradition.”
Kabuke Den is available for bookings online, with guided tastings of a flight of six sakes going for S$72 per person. Ala carte orders of sake flights and otsumami items are also available.
[Read more: A beginner’s guide to sake]
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.