12 June 2008

*“Excellent”. At least, I hope that’s what it says.

Once again the folks at Qype held a special event for some of the London contributors. You may recall me blogging about the Moët Hennessy wine-tasting event, or the gourmet chocolate event. Last night about six of us were treated to a Japanese food and sake event. It was excellent, top to bottom.

The location and food were provided by Tsuru. It’s a relatively new Japanese restaurant nestled into a business area just behind the Tate Modern in Southwark. It’s a cozy spot, and they made some incredible food. Click that link to see my (and others’) thoughts on the food; in short, it was excellent. I’m definitely planning to go back, probably to try some katsu curry.

The drinks were provided by the lovely Wakana Omija of the Akashi Sake Brewery co., an artisanal sake and shochu producer. Although I’ve always liked sake it was the first time I’d ever been to a proper tasting. It was really fun and informative. For instance, I didn’t know that brown rice is made into white rice by polishing it (basically, scraping away the outer parts of the grain). Did you know that? Huh? Didya?

Although it got increasingly difficult to keep track of everything we tasted as the evening went on, our hosts did a good job of pairing different drinks with different foods. All of it was tasty.

  • As we nibbled on edamame we tried a couple of cocktails: a Kappa Saketini (their Tokiwa rice shochu, Honjozo sake, and cucumber) and a Tokiwa Rhubarb Fizz (Tokiwa again, rhubarb, sugar syrup, soda, and mint). The latter was dangerously tasty.
  • With our seabass carpaccio they let us try both their Daiginjo and Junmai Daiginjo sakes.
  • We were served both warm and room-temperature Honjozo with our nasu dengaku.
  • The most interesting drink of the evening was the Genmai Yamadanishiki aged sake that accompanied the chicken yakitori. Akashi-Tai took the bold move some years ago of trying to make sake from brown, unpolished rice. It turned out to be…well, not good. But they’ve let it age a few years and it’s now starting to develop some complex flavours. It’s challenging, for sure, but when paired with food that’s got similarly strong flavours I can see a market for it.
  • For the sushi platter we got some creamy, undiluted Honjozo Genshu sake.
  • I think there was another snort of Tokiwa at the end to finish us off.

All of the drinks were excellent. The Junmai Daiginjo and Honjozo Genshu would be my two favourites from the whole lot, but they all worked well with the food they were paired with.

I’d definitely recommend having lunch at Tsuru. If you’re keen to try some of Akashi-Tai’s sakes or other drinks I’m told that you can get them at London’s Japan Centre , and I can see them for sale online at TheDrinkShop.com.

Big shout to Rob and CaribQueen from Qype for putting on the event. And good to meet/see again the other Qypers!

Here are some photos.

Image from Mex Beady Eyes via Creative Commons license


  1. Hey Tim thanks for using my photo 🙂

    As before you’re the first to get a blog post up on it, which considering the amount of Saki that was consumed last night that’s a Hurculean achievement.

    The food in Tsuru was excellent and I’d highly recommend it as a place to eat before or after a Tate Modern trip. The saki was some of the best I’d drunk in my life as to be honest I’m not a major saki fan – but this was delicious and a strange new experience of drinking it cold.

    I agree that the brown aged saki was amazing and tasted incredibly smooth and like an expensive single malt.

    Loved the refreshing cocktails at the start. Rhubarb Fix was great.

  2. Hi Tim! Thank you so much for joining us at the event and also for the lovely feedback on our sake.
    I too had a great time and hope to see you again soon… Matane (see you later)!

  3. The pleasure was all mine.

    Glad to see TikiChris put his photos of last night up, too.

  4. […] The Plummet Onions Science and music hurtling Londonwards at eye-watering velocity « Even dirtier More about sushi 13 June 2008 Opinions from some of the other folks who were there for Qype’s sushi-and-sake night: […]

  5. Hi Tim! Nice to meet you the other night. It was a really fun evening – great company, food and sake – perfect.

    I really enjoyed Tsuru and very much look forward to heading back to try the other options.

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