Category Archives: English friendly

Old Skool New Skool Sake | January 28th, 2016 @ Bar Zingaro

Old Skool New Skool Sake

Click on flyer for larger image

After decades of declining sales and a drastically shrinking market, the writing is on the wall for the nation’s sake brewers: the only way to survive is to adapt. This challenge has been readily accepted by a new generation of brewers who are combining traditional brewing techniques from the past (Old Skool) with modern innovation (New Skool) to create the sake for the 21st century and beyond.

This month at Bar Zingaro we will be looking how a young generation of brewers are using traditional kimoto, yamahai & bodaimoto brewing techniques to create delicious, dynamic sake which suits the palate of a modern consumer. Join Rebekah Wilson-Lye for her “Old Skool, New Skool Sake” presentation, followed by a guided tasting of beautifully crafted sake from seven innovative breweries.

RESERVATIONS ESSENTIAL

<Reservations>
Please contact us with the following information to info@bar-zingaro.jp:
-Name
-Number of participants
-Phone number

※Please note that the reservation will not be completed until you receive the confirmation e-mail from Bar Zingaro.
Do not hesitate in contacting us by phone if you have any question: 03-5942-8382

<Entrance fee>
3,000 yen will be collected on the day of the event.

BAR ZINGARO
http://bar-zingaro.jp/

Special thanks to my sponsors for this event, Atilika Inc.

Special thanks to my sponsors for this event, Atilika Inc.

ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー

近代の日本酒のマーケットにおいて売上が減少著しく、
さたに大幅な日本酒マーケットの縮小は大きな課題です。

それにより全国の日本酒の醸造家たちがが生き残るための唯一の方法は、
従来の習わしを見直し現代に合わせた方法へと適合させることでした。

この方法はこれから先未来の酒を作成するために伝統的な醸造技術と
現代の技術を組み合わせた、新しい世代のの醸造家達に受け入れられました。

今回Bar Zingaroではその醸造家達が
伝統的な生酛、山廃、菩提もとの醸造技術を使い、
現代の人々の味覚に合ったダイナミックな日本酒はどのように造られるのかを見て行きます。

ぜひレベッカによる“Old Skool, New Skool Sake”にふるってご参加下さい。
7つの革新的な醸造所がお届けする美味しいお酒を、レベッカのガイドつきでお楽しみ頂けます。

※ご予約制となっております。ご了承ください。

<ご予約方法>
下記のアドレスにお客様のお名前、参加人数、お電話番号をお送りください。
info@bar-zingaro.jp
※こちらからの返信をもちまして、ご予約確定とさせて頂きます。
返信の無い場合は恐れ入りますがお電話頂ければと思います。
03-5942-8382

<イベント参加費>
¥3,000

BAR ZINGARO
http://bar-zingaro.jp/

Sake Night 2015, in Ebisu | December 18th, 2015

Thanks to the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association, FOX Channel & スチュアート オー for their support at last night’s Sake Night 2015, in Ebisu. A diverse gathering of international diplomats, media and residents enjoyed a tasting of sake from every prefecture in the country. A great night of sake love!

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Sake + Food | Savour the Flavour @ Bar Zingaro – Dec 5th

Sake + Food : Savour the Flavour

Click on flyer for larger image

Most people still think of sake as something to pair only with sushi and other Japanese cuisine. However, sake is the perfect accompaniment to any international cuisine – sometimes it’s an even better pairing than wine.
A bold statement? Come and find out why more and more chefs are discovering the flavour enhancing power of sake with non-Japanese food, and how you can find a place for sake on your dinner table.

This month at Bar Zingaro we will be looking at the flavours, aromas & styles of sake, and how you can find a pairing to match any kind of cuisine. Join Rebekah Wilson-Lye for a presentation on “Sake + Food: Savour the Flavour” followed by a guided tasting of beautifully crafted sake from six innovative breweries.

RESERVATIONS ESSENTIAL

<Reservations>
Please contact us with the following information to info@bar-zingaro.jp:
-Name
-Number of participants
-Phone number

※Please note that the reservation will not be completed until you receive the confirmation e-mail from Bar Zingaro.
Do not hesitate in contacting us by phone if you have any question: 03-5942-8382

<Entrance fee>
¥3,000

BAR ZINGARO
http://bar-zingaro.jp/

Special thanks to my sponsors for this event, Atilika Inc.

Special thanks to my sponsors for this event, Atilika Inc.


ーーーーー

ほとんどの人々は”酒”というものは、寿司や日本料理にのみ相性が良いと考えている事でしょう。
しかし実際のところお酒は世界各国の料理に合うものなのです、ひょっとするとワインよりも…。
そんなはずはない?
実のところ沢山のシェフたちが日本食以外の食事において、お酒のより良い香りや優れたパワー相性のよさを発見しています。
ぜひあなたご自身で発見してませんか。どんな発見があなたの食卓にあるのかを。

お酒のソムリエレベッカによる今回の”SAKE +FOOD:Savour the Flavour” お酒のイベントでは
香り・味・お酒のスタイルを体感し、どんな料理にお酒があうのかを
6つの革新的な醸造所から届けられたお酒とともにプレゼンテーション致します。
ぜひふるってご参加下さいませ。

<ご予約方法>
下記のアドレスにお客様のお名前、参加人数、お電話番号をお送りください。
info@bar-zingaro.jp
※こちらからの返信をもちまして、ご予約確定とさせて頂きます。
返信の無い場合は恐れ入りますがお電話頂ければと思います。
03-5942-8382

<イベント参加費>
¥3,000

BAR ZINGARO
http://bar-zingaro.jp/

Fuglen Sake Flight | Nature’s Harvest – Autumn 2015

Fuglen Sake Flight – Nature’s Harvest

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As we are living in an era when we are increasingly concerned with the quality and origin of our food, as well as the sustainable, organic cultivation of produce, a return to a regional style of sake which utilises local raw materials has great appeal.

This autumn at Fuglen we will be celebrating nature’s bounty with a selection of three sake made using local cultivated, chemical free rice, and traditional, low intervention brewing techniques.

Savour the unique, terroir-driven flavour of these beautifully crafted sake at our Nature’s Bounty Sake Flight release party on Wednesday, October 21st.

Daina Tokubetsu Junmai Hiyaoroshi

大那 特別純米 ひやおろし

At Kiku no Sato, sake production begins in the fertile fields that surround their kura.  This small family brewery is as equally committed to cultivating their own chemical free sake rice as they are to brewing flavoursome sake with that celebrates the terroir of their local area.

A gentle herbaceous aroma invites you into glass, where you are greeted by the gently matured flavour of sweet grains enlivened by a refreshing acidity. Departs with a clean dry finish and a lingering aftertaste of spicy cedar wood.  Enjoy this sake at a range of temperatures: bright & crisp when chilled, with the flavour of the rice becoming more prominent as the sake is warmed.  A sake to savour under the harvest moon.

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Kiku no Sato Brewery, Nasu County, Tochigi – 菊の里酒造、栃木県須郡

Sake rice: Nasu County grown Gohykumangoku
Rice polishing rate: 57%
Yeast:
Sake Value Meter: +3
Acidity: 1.9
Alcohol: 16-17%

原料米: 栃木県那須産五百万石
精米歩合: 57%
酵母:
日本酒度: +3
酸度 1.9
アルコール度 16-17%

Shichi Hon Yari “Muu” Munouyaku (Organic) Junmai 七本槍 無農薬純米 無有 火入れ 

This rich, deeply flavoured sake captures the spirit of Shiga area’s terroir, as well as the eco-mindedness of its modern craftspeople. Brewed from organic rice grown by the brewery & local farmers, then gently aged for 18 months to allow the flavours to settle & mature.

Ambrosial notes of sweet, mellow rice & malted grains on the nose. Full-bodied with well structured acidity and a dry finish. Enjoy chilled in a wine glass to enjoy its brisk, refreshing acidity, or serve at 45C for a mellower, comforting expression. Pair with lean grilled meat or river fish.

IMG_7930

Tomita Brewery, Shiga – 冨田酒造、滋賀県

Sake rice: Locally grown Tamasakae (by brewery & local farmers)
Rice polishing rate: 60%
Yeast: #9
Nihonshudo: +4
Acidity: 1.8
Alcohol: 15-16%

原料米: 滋賀県産玉栄
精米歩合: 60%
酵母: 協会9号酵母
日本酒度: +4
酸度 1.8
アルコール度 15-16%

Daigo no Shizuku Bodaimoto  Junmai Muraoka Nama Genshu

奥播磨 春待ちこがれて 山廃純米 生酒

Made using the ancient bodaimoto brewering method first developed the temples of Nara,  in which the sake is fermented naturally by airborne yeasts, with organic rice which is grown by the brewery in their own fields. Unpasturised, unfiltered, undiluted and completely additive free, this is a pure, artisan sake with a flavour that is beyond compare.

Cloudy in the glass, with a soft creamy hue, its has a heady aroma of pear, yeast and sweet koji rice. Its dynamic flavour of sweet fruit and pickled ume plum, and grapefruit like acidity dance across your palate.  A perfect companion for cheese at the end of an mid-autumn meal.

Terada Honke Daigo no Shizuku

Terada Honke Daigo no Shizuku

Terada Honke , Chiba – 下村酒造、兵庫県

Sake rice: Locally grown organic Koshihihari
Rice polishing rate: 90-93%
Nihonshudo: -40~-70
Acidity: 6-12
Alcohol: 8%

原料米: 千葉県産 無農薬 コシヒカリ
精米歩合: 90-93%
日本酒度: -40~-70
酸度: 6-12
アルコール度 8%

 

Click on image for full size flyer

Sake | 夏酒 A Splash of Summer Event @ Bar Zingaro

August might be the last of summer months, but mercury is still rising in Tokyo. It’s scorching hot!

There’s not better way to survive the heatwave than splashing into a chilled glass of this season’s natsuzake (summer sake). This refreshing summer sake is designed to beat the heat and revive natsubate ravaged constitutions. Its lively nature also makes it the perfect partner for enjoying at summer barbecues & festivals.

Come and cool down with Rebekah Wilson-Lye, a SEC certified Advanced Sake Professional, as she gives an introduction to sake’s seasonal styles, along with a guided tasting of natsuzake from 7 innovative breweries.

Aramasa 新政  – Akita 秋田県
Takachiyo たかちよ – Niigata 新潟県
Senkin 仙禽 – Tochigi 栃木県
Hanatomoe 花巴 – Nara 奈良県
Kawatsuru 川鶴 – Kagawa 香川県
Houken 宝剣 – Hiroshima 広島県
Taka 貴 – Yamaguchi 山口県

We look forward to seeing you at Bar Zingaro!

<Reservations>
Please contact us with the following information to info@bar-zingaro.jp:
-Name
-Number of participants
-Phone number

※Please note that the reservation will not be completed until you receive the confirmation e-mail from Bar Zingaro.
Do not hesitate in contacting us by phone if you have any question: 03-5942-8382

<Entrance fee>
JPY3,000 (to cover the sake tasting and a plate of cheese and bread) will be collected on the day of the event.

http://bar-zingaro.jp/

Special thanks to my sponsors for this event, Atilika Inc.

Special thanks to my sponsors for this event, Atilika Inc.

ーーーーー

うだるような蒸し暑さが、まだまだ収まる気配を見せないこの頃。
夏酒の爽やかなセレクションに挑戦するには、とっておきの時期です。
清々しい夏の酒は、暑さを吹き飛ばし、夏バテで疲れた体を生き返らせるでしょう。

Bar Zingaroにて、日本酒ソムリエ(SEC certified Advanced Sake Professional) であるレベッカ・ウィルソンライと
クールダウンしましょう!今回のイベントでは、季節にぴったりな酒の紹介レクチャーのほか、
レベッカ指導のもと、これまでにない7つの酒蔵からの夏酒のテイスティングを行います。
鮮やかな自然、さらに夏のお祭りやBBQなどを楽しむのに最高の相棒となるでしょう。
新政 – 秋田県
たかちよ – 新潟県
仙禽 – 栃木県
花巴 – 奈良県
川鶴 – 香川県
宝剣 – 広島県
貴 – 山口県

皆様のご参加を心よりお待ちしております。

<ご予約方法>
下記のアドレスにお客様のお名前、参加人数、お電話番号をお送りください。
info@bar-zingaro.jp
※こちらからの返信をもちまして、ご予約確定とさせて頂きます。
返信の無い場合は恐れ入りますがお電話頂ければと思います。
03-5942-8382

<イベント参加費>
¥3,000(日本酒試飲とチーズ&バゲット代込み)
を当日お支払い頂きます。

http://bar-zingaro.jp/

Sake: Decoding the Label | Bar Zingaro – July 11th, 2015

Click on image for full-size flyer

Click on image for full-size flyer

Sake labels can be as aesthetically pleasing as they are frustrating to comprehend. The indecipherable names and classifications can make approaching a bottle of sake an intimidating experience, even for Japanese speakers. But fear not. By becoming familiar with some sake basics, as well as a few keywords, you will be able to take some of the guess work out of making your next sake selection.
This month at Bar Zingaro we will be decoding sake labels and learning how to use this information to predict the aromas and flavours inside. Join Rebekah Wilson-Lye for a presentation on “Sake: Decoding the Label” followed by a guided tasting of beautifully crafted sake from seven innovative breweries.

Aramasa 新政 – Aramasa Shuzo, Akita

Kid 紀土 – Heiwa Shuzo, Wakayama

Tamagawa 玉川 – Kinoshita Shuzo, Kyoto

Koikawa 鯉川 – Koikawa Shuzo, Yamagata

Iwaki Kotobuki 磐城壽 – Suzuki Shuzo Honten Nagai Kura, Yamagata

Ishizuchi 石鎚 – Ishizuchi Shuzo, Ehime

Kidoizumi 木戸泉 – Kidoizumi Shuzo, Chiba

We look forward to seeing you at Bar Zingaro!

<Reservations>
Please contact us with the following information to info@bar-zingaro.jp:
-Name
-Number of participants
-Phone number.
※Please note that the reservation will not be completed until you receive the confirmation e-mail from Bar Zingaro.
Do not hesitate in contacting us by phone if you have any questions: 03-5942-8382

<Entrance fee>
JPY3,000 (to cover the sake tasting and a plate of cheese and ham) will be collected on the day of the event.

http://bar-zingaro.jp/

Special thanks to my sponsors for this event, Atilika Inc.

Special thanks to my sponsors for this event, Atilika Inc.

ーーーーー

日本酒のラベルは見た目が美しいものも多いですが、それと同時に意味が理解し難いものも沢山ありますよね。
解読できない名称や「純米酒」や「純米大吟醸」などの種別は日本人でさえ近寄り難いものがあります。
しかしご心配なく。日本酒の基本やいくつかのキーワードさえ分かってしまえば、
日本酒もより身近なものになりますし、お酒選びも楽しくなりますよ♪

今回のイベントでは日本酒のラベルに隠された暗号を紐解いていきましょう。
ラベルに隠された暗号が解読できれば、
そこからお酒のアロマやフレーバーを予測する事もできるようになります。

今回も新進気鋭の7つの酒造から、初夏のこの陽気にぴったりな日本酒をご用意致しました。

新政 − 新政酒造、秋田県

紀土 – 平和酒造、和歌山県

玉川 − 木下酒造、京都府

鯉川 − 鯉川酒造、山形県

磐城壽 − 鈴木酒造本店長井蔵、山形県

石鎚 – 石鎚酒造、愛媛県

木戸泉 − 木戸泉酒造、千葉県


レベッカさんと一緒に日本酒のテイスティングをしながら
ラベルに隠された意味を解読していきませんか?

皆様のご参加を心よりお待ちしております。

<ご予約方法>
下記のアドレスにお客様のお名前、参加人数、お電話番号をお送りください。
info@bar-zingaro.jp
※こちらからの返信をもちまして、ご予約確定とさせて頂きます。
返信の無い場合は恐れ入りますがお電話頂ければと思います。
03-5942-8382

<イベント参加費>
¥3,000(日本酒試飲とチーズ&バゲット代込み)
を当日お支払い頂きます。

http://bar-zingaro.jp/

The Aromas of Sake | Sake Event @ Bar Zingaro

The Aroma of Sake

Click on image to see full-size flyer

Before even taking a sip, the aromas of sake which emanate from the cup give us our first sense of the flavour that awaits. And these aromas are as captivating as they are varied: fruit, spice, fresh herbs, caramel, cereal and even yoghurt are just some of the notes you may encounter.

But how can a beverage made from rice have such extraordinary range of fragrances?

The answer is in the kobo, or sake yeast. Learning a little about yeast can help you pick out the aromas and flavours in sake, and guide you towards discovering what types of sake best suit you.

Come and delight your senses with Rebekah Wilson-Lye, as she explores the aromas of sake through a guided tasting of beautifully crafted sake from seven innovative breweries.

<Reservations>  SOLD OUT
Please email your name and phone number to the address below:
info@bar-zingaro.jp
Entrance fee of JPY2,000 (to cover the sake tasting and a plate of cheese and ham) will be collected on the day of the event.

We look forward to seeing you at Bar Zingaro!

http://bar-zingaro.jp

Special thanks to my sponsors for this event, Atilika Inc.Atilika Inc

カップに口を近づけると、ふんわりとしたお酒の香りが嗅覚を刺激します。
お酒のアロマは様々に変化するのは、フルーツやスパイス、新鮮なハーブ、キャラメル、シリアルやヨーグルトといった馴染みのある香りを含んでいる からです。

しかし、お米から作られた飲み物が、なぜそのような特殊な香りになるのでしょうか?
答えは酵母です。
酵母について知る事で、お酒のアロマや風味を感じ取るができ、あなたにぴったりのお酒を見つける事ができるようになります。

日本酒ソムリエ(SEC certified Advanced Sake Professional) であるレベッカ・ウィ ルソンライと一緒に、お酒の香りを楽しみましょう。
今回は7種類の斬新なお酒をご用意しました。
お酒の試飲を通じ、皆さんを香りの世界へご案内します。

<ご予約方法>
下記のアドレスにお名前とお電話番号をお送りください。
info@bar-zingaro.jp

<イベント参加費>
一般:¥2,000
留学生:¥1,000
(日本酒試飲とチーズ&ハムのプレート代込み)
を当日お支払いい頂きます。

——
皆様のご来場お待ちしております!
http://bar-zingaro.jp

Sake: Decoding the Grades |Tasting Event @Bar Zingaro

Sake Decoding the Grades

Click on image for event flyer

The sake boom is here, and suddenly everyone has a developed thirst for this superlative brew.
But for newcomers, the dizzying array of labels on the market, and the baffling terminology mean that sake can be intimidating to approach.
One of the easiest ways to navigate the options is to become familiar with grades sake is divided into.

This month at Bar Zingaro we will decode the classifications of premium sake, the variances in their production, rice milling rates, fragrances and flavour profiles. Getting to grips with these basics will not only give you more confidence, it will take some of the guess-work out of ordering.

Come and indulge your inner sake geek with Rebekah Wilson-Lye, a SEC certified Advanced Sake Professional, as she gives an introduction to the sake grades, along with a guided tasting of sake from 7 innovative breweries.

For ongoing updates, join the event on Bar Zingaro’s event page.

<Reservations>
Please email your name and phone number to the address below:
info@bar-zingaro.jp
Entrance fee of JPY2,000 (to cover the sake tasting and a plate of cheese) will be collected on the day of the event.
Entrance fee of JPY1000 for international students.

We look forward to seeing you at the event!

日本酒ブームの到来により、近頃急速に日本酒への熱狂はどんどん高まっています。
しかしながら日本酒ビギナーの人にとっては、めまいがするほど市場に出回るラベルの多さと難しい専門用語に道を阻まれ、日本酒は敬遠されがちです。
それを打破する最も簡単な方法が、日本酒のグレードについて知るという方法です。

今月は、Bar Zingaroでプレミアム酒の分類、生産地、精米率、香りと風味の特徴について解説します。
日本酒の基礎知識を得て自信を持って頂いた後は、少しチャレンジもしていただきます。

日本酒ソムリエ(SEC certified Advanced Sake Professional )レベッカ・ウィルソンライと、日本酒の夜を楽しみましょう。
今回は7種類の斬新な日本酒をご試飲いただき、彼女がそのグレードについて解説します。

<ご予約方法>
下記のアドレスにお名前とお電話番号をお送りください。
info@bar-zingaro.jp

<イベント参加費>
一般:¥2,000
留学生:¥1,000
(日本酒試飲とチーズプレート代込み)
を当日お支払いい頂きます。

皆様のお越しをお待ちしております!

 

夏酒: A Taste of Summer | Tasting Event @Bar Zingaro

Click on image for event flyer

Click on image for event flyer

With the oppressive summer humidity showing no signs of abating, there is no better time to dive into a fresh selection of this season’s natsuzake.
This refreshing summer sake’s is designed to beat the heat, and revive natsubate fatigued constitutions. Come and cool down with Rebekah Wilson-Lye, a SEC certified Advanced Sake Professional, as she gives an introduction to sake’s seasonal styles, along with a guided tasting of natsuzake from seven innovative breweries.

<Reservations>
Please email your name and phone number to the address below:
info@bar-zingaro.jp
Entrance fee of JPY2,000 (to cover the sake tasting and a plate of cheese) will be collected on the day of the event.
UNIVERSITY STUDENT DISCOUNT: JPY1,000 Entrance fee!

We look forward to seeing you at the event!

うだるような蒸し暑さが、まだまだ収まる気配を見せないこの頃。
夏酒の爽やかなセレクションに挑戦するには、とっておきの時期です。
清々しい夏の酒は、暑さを吹き飛ばし、夏バテで疲れた体を生き返らせるでしょう。

Bar Zingaroにて、日本酒ソムリエ(SEC certified Advanced Sake Professional) であるレベッカ・ウィルソンライとクールダウンしましょう!
今回のイベントでは、季節にぴったりな酒の紹介レクチャーのほか、レベッカ指導のもと、これまでにない7つの酒蔵からの夏酒のテイスティングを行います。

<ご予約方法>
以下アドレスへお名前とお電話番号をお送り下さい。
info@bar-zingaro.jp
当日参加費¥2,000(チーズ付き)を頂きます。
当日参加費・学割¥1,000(チーズ付き)を頂きます

皆様のご来場お待ちしております。

Tokyo Sushi: Sushi Kanesaka, Higashi-Ginza – 鮨かねさか, 東銀座

It was their penultimate day in Tokyo, and despite spending five (sleepless) days in constant pursuit of flavours, knowledge and inspiration, the boys from Maaemo still had one regret: not eating any high-end sushi. Being one of the lucky few who were treated to their superlative creations during a two night pop-up event at Fuglen, I knew there was no way the local foodie community could let these wunderkinds leave without enjoying such an experience. However, with less than 12 hours before service started at Tokyo’s starred sushiya, securing a booking was going to be neigh on impossible.

If there was one man who would be sympathetic to my pleas, it was Shinji Kanesaka, the chef of the eponymously named two-starred sushiya; a man highly regarded not only for his exceptional skill, but also for his amiable nature.

The call was placed, negotiations made, and voila! He would open dinner service two hours early for us (and two lucky dinners whose reservation had been languishing on the waiting list). What a gentleman.

At the appointed hour, our motley crew of eight bundled into the tiny 14-seat restaurant, located a stones throw from Tsukiji market, in Higashi-Ginza. Despite its diminutive dimensions, Kanesaka’s atmosphere is open and relaxed, a feeling reinforced by the warm and welcoming staff. Taking our seats in front of Sanpei-san at the gleaming shiroki counter, we were visibly apprehensive, but the chef’s disarming personality quickly put us at ease, allowing us to sit back and savour the experience that was about to play out before us.

Sushi Kanesake only offers their Edomae sushi as omakase, so while there is no menu, you are able to state your dislikes and preferences – in my case, a smaller shari to allow me to eat a full course without discomfort.

At lunch, the omakase prices range from ¥5,000 (sushi only), ¥10,000 to ¥15,000, while at dinner, prices hike up to ¥21,000 and ¥30,000 – the latter offers a couple of extra otsumami (entree) courses and higher grade cuts. Given our time restriction, we were only able to order the ¥21,000 dinner course, which consisted of 6 ostumami dishes and 10 sushi, but due to the early hour and our hungover condition, this proved to be just right.

Sitting in quiet reverence to the man and his craft, we began: perfectly seasoned and subtly sweet shiro-ebi (white shrimp), from Tottori-ken.

Nama-gaki (fresh oyster) from Hokkaido. Lightly seasoned as if it had been washed over by an ocean wave. Milky. Fresh. Divine.

Katsuo (skipjack tuna) is a fish that I usually associated with summer, but Sanpei-san informed me that in autumn, when the fish migrate south from Russia, they have a layer of fat which makes the meat more tender; at which point he pointed out the faint white streak that coloured the edge of the fish. Paired with negi ponzu and grated ginger, it was sensationally soft and delicious.

Charcoal-grilled anago (sea eel) with momoji (grated daikon with seven spice) and ponzu.

From a large ceramic pot, the chef fished out a huge whole awabi (abalone), which had been simmered in its own stock. I think shock and awe must have registered on my face at this point – I haven’t seen a specimen that big since my childhood days in New Zealand, where paua (as it is called there) is something of a national treasure. I adore the distinct succulence and pleasant al dente texture of awabi, but I was even more impressed with the sliver of its own flavoursome liver that it was served with. A highlight for me, but for my companions, this was the least enjoyable texture and flavour of the meal.

Salt grilled tachiuo (scabbard fish) served with a simple garnish of daikon. With fish this good you hardly need any embellishment.

Kanesaka has a small selection of sake from reputable kura. I chose the Kudoki Jozu ‘White’ Bakuren Dry Ginjo (くどき上手 超辛口吟醸 白ばくれん – Yamada Nishiki 55%), a light tasting, clean sake with a sake value meter of +20 – this is about as dry as it gets. A perfect foil to the unctuousness of the maguro that was to follow.

The rice was called for, and the sushi course commenced with a balletic display of knife skills and graceful hand-eye coordination. First, shima aji (striped jack – a close relation of aji and hamachi).

A note about the rice, Kanesake uses only akazu (red vinegar) and salt to season his rice. No sugar is used in the process, which results in a more savoury, slightly firmer texture. This is a point that has some reviewers divided, but as I have a predilection for salty flavours, I thought it was spot on.

It is also worth mentioning that Sushi Kanesaka use the same fish as three-starred, and the current #1 sushiya on tabelog, Sushi Saito. The reason: Shinji Kanesaka is a part-owner of his former apprentice’s restaurant. Every morning, all the fish orders arrive at Kanesaka, where they are broken down and portioned, before being sent on to Saito for the day’s service.

Akami

Chu-toro

O-toro

The anticipation was palpable when the chef pulled out a tray of glistening maguro cuts. Here come the big boys!

Akami

I regret that I had quickly dispensed with my cumbersome camera and only used my iPhone to document the sushi course, as I was not able to adequately capture the rich, jewel-like colours of the tuna.

Chu-toro

O-toro

One of the more keen-witted amongst us noticed that the rice used for the o-toro was slightly warmer than for the previous pieces. The reason, I was told, was because the warm rice helps to melt the fat and release more flavour. And what a flavour: the rich marbled flesh completely dissolved in my mouth and left a wonderfully lingering after taste. I discovered in post-meal enquiries that the Holy Trinity of tuna was not part of the ¥21,000 course, it was Sanpei-san’s expression of respect to the Maaemo chefs.

Ika (squid) seasoned with sadachi lime.

Kohada (herring). Lightly cured in salt and mirin, this was the star of the night.

Karuma-ebi (imperial prawn) stuffed with ebi-miso (its own entrails). The men in our group were served theirs whole, but Kanesaka-san thoughtfully cut each piece in half for the women, so that we could, errr… keep it classy. I found the ebi slightly overcooked, which seems to be something of a common occurence in Japan.

Another standout of the evening: Aji (jack fish) with negi (leek). By now, the chef noted the Norwegian’s affinity for aozakana (silver fish), and was interested to discover that both cultures used similar preparations for curing it.

 

Deconstructed sushi. Glistening corals of Hokkaido uni, with a side of ikura (salmon roe). Sublime. From here the conversation took on comic proportions as I was given the unenviable task of translating the Norwegian name for uni, kråkebolle, into Japanese. Sanpei-san quickly got the joke and diffused my awkwardness by declaring, in English, that these were indeed very “tasty balls”.

A semi-sweet treat to end on: again, we were served grilled anago, but this time with a sweet tare sauce and sancho pepper seasoning. It was followed by a thick slice of the most perfectly formed tamago-yaki. Sweet, spongy and custard-like, this was an inspired finale.

Fabulous food and an equally fabulous dining experience. Sanpei-san executed a meal that was not only technically impressive, but also wonderfully composed. Throughout the course of the meal he took time to give detailed explanations of the fish, as well as graciously answer our questions of how each was prepared. His ability to seamlessly transition from quiet, masterful chef to jovial host – cracking a few jokes in his limited English – made the evening infinitely enjoyable.

But above all, that Kanesaka was able to turn ‘Maaemo Dreams of Sushi’ into a reality, is something for which I will always be indebted.

Sushi Kanesaka

03-5568-4411