Exquisite omakase restaurant Ki-Sho has expanded its service and now includes the new boutique bar Kakure, located on the second floor of the restaurant bungalow. After a first breathtaking visit to Ki-Sho, I was intrigued in what else the brand could offer. Kakure, envisioned as an intimate bar experience, boasts one of the largest sake lists in Singapore, specially curated by Ki-Sho’s chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto, and the restaurant’s two kikisake-shi John and Makoto. Unique to Kakure is a sake range that focuses on handcrafted liquors that are not widely available, and each of these sakes are brought in limited quantities. Pairing each sake with the bar’s omakase selection is an art in itself, making each experience and visit one that is truly unique. With a cozy dining and drinking experience, one where you get personalized attention from the sake sommelier, Kakure is the place to be at for aficionados of Japanese culinary and beverage finery.
Kakure’s bar. A small, cozy and intimate dining experience.
Sake is the national beverage of Japan, and sake breweries can be found all over the country. Kakure currently hosts over 50 different sake labels, each reflecting a unique flavour that embodies the culture, terrain and lifestyle that is unique to the region. The sake list in Kakure is set to change from time to time. When breweries are discovered or when the season changes to produce an exceptionally sake, each return visit promises a new experience. To truly partake in the depths and pronounced flavours of each sake, Chef Hamamoto has taken to craft an assortment of bar cuisine as an accompaniment. While not meant to replace a full dinner, an omakase course of bar dishes is also available.
Chef started us off with an assortment of pickles ($12++). For the night, a yuzu daikon, spicy sea kelp and sliced vinegared radish were served up. The yuzu daikon was crisp, with the delicate scent of citrus beautifully encasing each piece. Sweet and a little tart, these were exceptionally good to open up the appetite.
The first dish that arrived thereafter was the Nanbanzuke – anago eel with onions and topped with shiso flower. The eel was soft and delicate, buttery flavourful and well steeped in its own essence. I relished the sweet crunch from the onions and was found the entire experience, comforting.
For this dish, we had a sake pairing of the Saika Daiginjo Saika Magoichi (Polish rate 40%. From Wakayama). This 2015 Gold Medal Sake was fruity and sweet and high in its perfume rate. Famous in the Wakayama prefecture, I thought this was a great sake to begin the meal with. Something that is easy and dances around on the palate, uplifting the more intense and savoury anango combination.
Iwabuchi-san also shared with us that having sake by the wine glass allows the aromatics to be better encased and savoured as the glass is brought to the nose. A truly different experience when compared to a serving in the sake cup.
In our second course, we had a serving of Tasmanian Smoked Salmon, prepared and smoked in house by the chef.
For this dish, we had the sake pairing of Takaisami Tokubetsu Junmai (Polish rate 50%. From Tottori). The sake brought out the salmon’s smoky heartiness and yet toning down the dish’s overall saltiness to a subtle level. It was a beautiful experience, akin to an yin-yang endeavour.
The third and fourth courses was a presentation of Grilled Oysters and Grilled Sanma. The oysters were beautifully fresh, with a charred smokiness that belied the flavourful creamy and sweet interior upon the first bite. The sanma was decent, and nicely seasoned, leaving the fish’s natural oils to speak for itself where possible.
For these two dishes, we had two different sakes served to complement the flavours. The oysters had the privilege of being paired with the chilled Okunoto no Shiragiku Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama Genshu (Polish rate 55%. From Ishikawa). This sake is a blend of two different types of rice, giving rise to a first sweet impression followed by a slightly dry aftertaste. It is rich in umami flavour and does not have any added water to the brew. Much sweeter than the one I had from the wakayama prefecture and definitely a crisp touch to the more robustly flavoured oysters.
The sanma was paired with the Daishichi Junmai Kimoto (Served at room temp. Polish rate 69%. From Fukushima). The sake was short in flavour and light, but smooth when compared against what was just immediately served with the oysters. The Daishichi sake blends deeply into the sanma, bringing out a distinct sharpness that proved to be a little bump in my overall experience.
The next course of Oden with daikon, konnyaku and atsu-age tofu was also paired with the Daishichi sake. However, the sake was this time heated and served warm at approximately 42 degrees celsius. Oden is a perfect winter dish, and having it served in Singapore might seem a little odd. Still, I did enjoy the selection of radish, tofu and konnyaku – each being well steeped in the oden soup’s flavour and each leaving a lasting, heartwarming impression.
Unique for the sixth course was a full Charcoal grilled Nodoguro or black throat sea perch served up for the table of 5 to share. The sea perch is wonderfully oily and flavourful, and definitely a delight to go through.
It is served with the Kikuyoi Tokubetsu Junmai-shu (Polish rate 60%. From Shizuoka).
We were nearing the end of the spread of Omakase bar bites when Chef sprung this surprise on us. The Buta Kakuni or braised pork belly was in a simple word, divine. Buttery smooth with a melt in the mouth texture, this portion of pork belly was as sublime as it could get. Full marks from me for this dish.
Have the pork belly with the Kaika Tokubetsu Junmai Gen-shu Migaki Takekawa (Served hot at 50 degrees celcius. Polish rate 59%. From Tochigi). With no added water and served hot at 50 degrees, the sake quickly cleanses and cuts through the pork’s heaviness, cleansing the palate and leaving you refreshed for the next bite and experience.
Rounding up the entire meal and experience for the night, Iwabuchi-san opened up a limited collection bottle of Masuizumi Kijoshu (From Toyama). This dessert sake was fruity sweet and portrayed and depth and roundedness that plays very easily on the tongue. It was one of my favourite sakes for the night and perhaps a very fitting way to end the meal on a high.
Me and Iwabuchi-san
After an impressive first visit to Ki-Sho, the bar for high quality cuisine, flavour and thoughtfulness was already set. This time round, with my follow up visit to Kakure, I was greeted with a similar set of experiences and left the dinner feeling well sated, knowledgeable and impressed. Kakure is a memorable place to recommend, and their prices while a touch more affordable than what is served at Ki-Sho, shows little compromise in a fine execution of culinary finesse that I have come to expect from the brand. I look forward to making a return visit on my own, barring which the perfect experience is a trip to Japan in itself.
Thank you Ki-Sho for the invitation
29 Scotts Road
Reservations: 6733 5251
6.30pm – 1am
Mon to Sat