The Hidden Gem should be uncovered to the World
Tucked away in the suburb of Malvern East, Asakusa is a Japanese restaurant that offers you with gourmet that is made by traditional Japanese methods. Asakusa has been established in Malvern East for nine years and has since been much-loved by the locals.
There is no secret to their success because their philosophy is to treat customers like their family members – to serve them with the best by using traditional and healthier way of cooking. Lucy Liao, the owner of Asakusa, shops around Melbourne with her staff to find the freshest fishes and ingredients everyday.
The owner of Asakusa, Lucy
The seven Australian Achievers Award certificates hanging on the wall speak for their outstanding customer service, because to be eligible for the award, a business of any kind is required to be nominated by four customers/ clients and one supplier. Asakusa started their business in 2005 and has been receiving the award since 2006!
The Head chef, Steven Yu has been in the industry for 20 years, seven years of which, has worked in Japan with strict Japanese chefs to hone his skills. Thanks to the valueable experiences, Steven is now an all-rounder head chef with comprehensive knowlegde of Japanese food and culture.
No only does Steven offer authentic Japanese dishes like “tooth fish misoyaki”, he also creates innovative dishes using traditional Japanese cooking methods, for instance, “lamb yuanzuke”. With almost 100 of different dishes on the menu, there will be something that suits your palate whether you are a vegetarian or meat-lover.
*Yuanzuke means marinating fish in yuan sauce made with soy sauce, cooking sake, mirin and yuzu slices. It is thought be to invented by Yuan Kitamura, a master in tea ceremony and a gourmet during the Edo Period.
Steven preparing sashimi
To enjoy your meal to the fullest, we recommand all-rounder sake, Asabiraki Junmai Okarakuchi Suijin to accompany the dishes. Sujin has a good amount of umami to bring out the freshness of sashimi and oysters, at the same time, to handle the robust flavours of stronger-flavoured grill dishes.
a collection of fresh raw fish slices $15.5/ 9 pcs
Steven handpicked the freshest catch of the day – tuna, salmon and flathead. They tasted distinctively different but there was one thing in common, very fresh and delicious!
|Tooth fish misoyaki
Grilled tooth fish fillet marinated in miso sauce $35/ 3pcs
The generous portion of high quality tooth fish fillets are imported from Japan. First marinated in miso and then grilled in a Japanese fish griller, the natural sweetness from miso and the good amount of fat from tooth fish blended so well together! We were wonderstruck by how the fillets were so tender yet the sides were so crispy and aromatic!
Served with salad topped with sesame oil dressing, this is the perfect example of a healthy Japanese diet.
grilled oysters in special mayonnaise $18/ 6 pcs
As oysters tend to shrink when heated, Lucy chooses only the large ones from the market everyday.
Yuanzuke is not a dish you can find easily in Melbourne.
The calligraphy on the wall, Michi (the path or my way) reflected the determination of Lucy to better her restaurant day by day.
“Welcome to Asakusa Japanese Restaurant! We will treat you as our family members and serve you with delicious and healthy food, and warm your hearts with our hospitality. You will be able to enjoy many traditional, homemade delicacies like gyoza at Asakusa, so please come visit us!” Lucy said with a bright smile.
* Booking in advance is highly recommended as they are always booked out especially on weekends.
ASAKUSA Japanese Restaurant
127 Waverley Rd, Malvern East, VIC 3145.
Tel: 03 9569 2051
Tue – Sun: 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Closed on Mondays
Your perfect excuse to open a few bottles
1st October is the official Sake Day (nihonshu no hi) established by the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association in 1978 in order to promote and preserve the tradition of sake (nihonshu). Sake was considered old fashioned and uncool amongst the younger generations until recent years. Thanks to the enormously effort of the sake industry (brewers, importers, exporters, sake-lovers etc), there is a growing awareness towards sake production and appreciation. What’s more exciting is that there is also a steady increase in the number of sake-drinkers and sake sales! Hooray!
Wonder why a celebration on 1st October? Well, Two main reasons.
1. The Kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese) of Sake has something to do with 10 ?!
For those who only have limited knowledge of the Japanese language and kanji, “sake” is written as 酒 (* pronounce something like “sa-k-air” but not “saki”).
Let’s now chop up the kanji and have a closer look.
When the three strokes on the left of 酒, which symbolises flowing water, combines with (or more correctly, put into) the drinkware on the left ( 酉), it makes the word 酒.***
Something interesting about the kanji 酉, is that it can be read as “tori” too. You know, the tori as in yakitori! So yes, it means bird/ chicken/ rooster. And since rooster is the 10th animal in the Chinese zodiac, the first day of the 10th month of every year – October, is the designated Sake Day!
*** please scroll down to the bottom if you would like to read more about the myth of 酒.
2. The fiscal year for sake brewers used to begin on 1st October
The new sake brewing season usually begin in October and therefore it was just normal for the fiscal year for sake brewers to began on 1 October (until 1964). Although the fiscal year now begins from July, the original date of 1 October was celebrated in order to commemorate the legacy.
Some other reasons…
1. October is autumn on the other side of the globe. The harvested new crops (eg sake brewing rice) are used to produce new sake thus the celebration.
2. October is considered the “Month of Gods” – to worship and thank different gods and goddesses in Japan. Premium sake is used for rites and celebration.
Whatever reasons, just take the opportunity to enjoy the great beverage that much effort and sweat and tears have been put into producing. And if you can, please tell your family and friends how wonderful sake can be. Get them a bottle of your choice and show them the subtleties and complexities because even the smallest step makes a huge difference on the perception of the under-regarded divine beverage – SAKE.
By the way, 1 November is Shochu Day (shochu no hi). Stay tuned and we will fill you in with more interesting facts and trivia. Happy Sake Day everyone and please keep up your love and support for sake and Sake Online.
*** The myth of 酒
酉 alone was used to represent sake or alcoholic beverages thousands of years ago. Alcohol was not very palatable and the god of alcohol (Someone like Dionysus in Greek mythology??) told Du Kang (杜康), the legendary inventor of alcohol in ancient China to brew it with 3 drops of blood from 3 people he met (*yuck*). Du Kang followed the advice and got 3 drops of blood from a scholar, a warrior and a crazy beggar respectively. He successfully brewed the greatest wine ever and three strokes was added to 酉 since then. This probably explains why most of us when consume alcohol, first started off like well-mannered scholars, then gradually turned to fearsome warriors and finally losing our sensibility…
For your information, master sake brewer toji (杜氏) literally means Sir To. You can see the connection between 杜康 and 杜氏 here.
| Nothing magical, all about passion (and a little bit of fun)!
(photo courtesy of Saké Restaurant)
Recently opening in the revitalised Hamer Hall (part of Arts Centre in Melbourne), Saké Restaurant & Bar serves up fine contemporary Japanese cuisine alongside a spectacular list of sake. With their first restaurant in Sydney winning the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Chef’s Hat Award each year, Saké is definitely one to check out!
This time, we are honoured to have an interview with Wayne Shennen, the dedicated sake-lover and talented bar manager from Sydney.
About Sake and Food Pairing
– Could you please tell us more about your background in regards to bartending?
I’ve been a bartender for 10 years. The alcohol side of things is interesting for me, but flavours and combinations are a lot of fun so I especially love cocktails. I regularly go to Japan, and sake as a product has always intrigued me, so it’s great to be able to indulge my interests there with my job.
– When was your first sake experience and what was your impression?
I think I’m like most people, in that my first experience with sake was pretty bad. I had hot sake at many restaurants and they must have all been pretty low grade. The flavours were very strong, without any subtlety.
– Why do you like it so much now?
The turning point was when I was in Japan in 2006 to teach English. I’d heard some good things about sake and thought to myself, “Ok, one last chance.” I went to a little bottle shop and asked for something nice, and I think they gave me a little bottle of daiginjo because it was very floral from memory. I remember thinking “so that’s how sake is supposed to taste!” That is when I started drinking sake again.
– How is sake doing in Australia at the moment?
It’s just booming and everyone in Sydney is interested. But I think there is a parallel between what sake is going through in Australia at the moment and what tequila went through 5 years ago.
Just like how it’s the cheap, strong tasting product that come to mind for many people when talking about tequila, lots of people are afraid of sake because of incorrect associations. Most Australians seem to think sake is very strong and very dangerous from a hangover point of view, and it’s just not true.
– Do you think it’s possible to turn the situation around?
It’s a complicated process because it requires a change in mentality, but one of the things we do is to position sake as a substitute for wine in Saké Restaurant. We always serve sake in beautiful stem-less glasses to capture the aromas, and also because many customers will down the whole thing if you give them ochoko (shot glasses).
Sake can be such a pleasant product, but for many people the first experience with sake was like mine. With this in mind when I talk to patrons and they say “I don’t like sake” or “Wayne, you show us”, I look to reassure them, and almost always the response is “that was not what I was expecting!” I get a lot of job satisfaction from this.
– What are some of your favourite sake?
One of my favourites would be the organic sake we sell here from Kozaemon Brewery. It’s a junmai ginjo made from Miyamanishiki rice. Another one would be from Amabuki Brewery. It’s made using strawberry flower(Saganohana Ichigo) yeast. It smells like nashi pear, vanilla and cinnamon, and has a nice finish. It’s very tasty and great as an aperitif.
With food, the Yuho Junmai Ginjo 55 is spectacular. It’s been aged for two years and it’s got these amazing toffeed banana characteristics that complement the bigger dishes to perfection.
Depending on the day, I quite like the yamahai version of the organic sake I have mentioned too. It’s punchier and just a little more robust.
– Which are some of your favourite sake matching dishes on the menu at Sake Restaurant?
It would be the tuna ceviche. It’s a crossover of the Japanese and the Central/South American style, in which the combination of flavours are just amazing (yuzu, umami from soy, baby coriander, jalapeno chilli and the raw tuna)! I match this with the organic sake from Kozaemon.
Another is the prawn dumplings and the Tokubetsu Junmai from Kozaemon. It works amazingly well.
– How do you match sake for your customers?
I usually match sake with the dishes that customers have ordered so I will first ask them if they would like to try sake. I honestly think that nothing works better with our food. For example, there are sake that work very well with sashimi and others not so much, so we will talk to customers and explain to them why they should try this product instead of that at this stage of the meal.
For customers who ask for dessert wine or a glass of port, I will ask if they would like to try some new alternatives, like Kokuto Umeshu. The Kozaemon Junmai Umeshu is another way to give people something new that they might not have known existed.
– How do you know what to recommend to your customers?
What I tend to do is to start off with light honjozo daiginjo because I think it’s very accessible if patrons have never had sake before. But if they have had sake before I might recommend Kozaemon Junmai Ginjo Bizen Omachi from our sake list, which is also very accessible and matches really well with sashimi.
Depending how the customer enjoys the first sake and the matching, I’ll recommend something from there.
– How do you balance the rather delicate sake with other ingredients in a cocktail?
Most of the sake that we sell in the restaurant is so delicate, so good that it’s difficult to add something to it to make it taste better. What I tend to use in sake cocktails are the lower grade sake we sell, or the aged stuff.
For example there’s one cocktail called the Tasty Budo which uses a 3 year junmai, because it is robust enough thanks to the ageing process that it can handle being mixed with other flavours. Recently I’ve been playing around with some of the more delicate product in Martini style drinks, trying to coax out subtle combinations without overpowering the original freshness of the sake. It’s difficult, but fun!
Yuzu Sour – served on the rocks
Yamazaki 12yo, Johnny Walker Black, yuzu, lemon & strawberry
– Do your customers like to have sake neat or in cocktails?
For sake I recommend straight, for cocktails I say ‘why not try something new?’ For example, if someone asks for a Cosmopolitan I’ll suggest they try something that they can only get Saké Restaurant & Bar, like one of our originals called Black Zacquiri (Ron Zacapa 23yo rum, Choya Kokoto Umeshu & fresh lime) or the Yuzu Sour (Yamazaki 12yo, Johnny Walker Black, yuzu & strawberry).
– How did you come up with creative names of your cocktails?
Out of boredom. (Laughs)
For example Rose Miss Wednesday is named after Neferutari Bibi, a.k.a. “Miss Wednesday”, a character from the very popular Manga ”One Piece“.
I have some knowledge of the Japanese history, especially when it is related to martial arts, and I’ve drawn on that a few times. I have a ‘Man-tini’ range of drinks that start with the pre-dinner Nobunaga*. I’ve finished the recipe for the Toyotomi* and it’s been very well received, while the Tokugawa* is a work in progress. They are based on old school gentlemen style cocktails with stronger and more aggressive flavours.
* Three famous warlords during the Sengoku period
– Wow, you are very familiar with the Japanese history! What do you think of Japan?
I lived for a year and a half in Saitama to teach English and I absolutely love Japan! I’m from a fairly small town in New Zealand and Japan is interestingly different to me. Everywhere you go there is an opportunity to learn something new and exciting.
– Have you been to a sake brewery in Japan before?
Before my last trip to Japan the only brewery I’d been to was in the middle of Kyushu during summer, and the son of the president showed me around for 4 hours! It was really comprehensive and interesting.
– Do you speak Japanese?
Not as much as I should, so I keep studying. Much of my Japanese is martial arts based because I train in jujutsu, and I’m great at talking about the weather, but I can read the kanji (chinese characters) on the sake labels and that sure helps at stocktake time!
– Please give some advice to first time sake drinkers.
I think good sake has an amazing balance of acids and umami that you can’t help but like. Start off with the more accessible ones, the sweeter and smoother ones. If they ever start to become boring, you’re ready for something more complex.
*** STAY TUNED! Wayne is going to tell us more about his professional sake course in Chicago and his Japan tour next time! ***
Bar Manager, Saké Restaurant & Bar, Sydney
According to Wayne Shennen, good bartending is all about balancing flavours. “The subtlety of each ingredient should shine through,” explains the passionate New Zealander, a trained sake sommelier and one of Sydney’s most respected bartenders at award-winning Saké Restaurant & Bar. “If you can taste what you’re drinking, you tend to treat alcohol with more respect.”a
Saké Restaurant & Bar
Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004.
Tel: +61 (3) 8687 0775
Mon – Sun 12.00 – 3.00pm
Mon – Thurs 6.00 – 10.30pm
Fri 6.00 – 12.00am
Sat 5.30 – 11.30pm
Sun 5.00 – 10.00pm
The Sake Alchemist #2
The Sake Alchemist #1
Tasting Business at Saké Restaurant & Bar
The most important thing for any learner is…
Maybe you are a sake master or a sake expert.
But as sake learners, we get really frustrated sometimes. Sake is so difficult! The vocabs, the tastes, the knowledges… everything can be so complex!
As if we are trying to reach the end of a rainbow to get a pot of gold, it just keeps receding whenever we think we are close enough to touch it. We believe this sort of frustration applies to all sorts of learning.
This is when we should think out of the box in order to keep motivated.
So, instead of just introducing you to one particular sake (and the brewery and the best way to enjoy and stuff…), let’s check out the many possiblities of sake.
~ Dessert makeovers ~
If we tell you to simply drink chilled or on the rocks as a dessert wine, you’d probably throw eggs at us… Easy, buddy! This is because You’s Time Light is great enough on its own! Add a zesty new twist to the oh-so-familiar desserts like:
Pour You’s Time Light over vanilia ice cream.
2. Yuzushu sorbet
Please refer to our sorbet recipe here.
3. Yuzu jelly
Simply mix with gelatine or agar agar or jelly power. Click here for recipe.
4. Yuzu syrup cake
Replace the syrup or fruit puree you usually use with You’s Time Light.
5. Fruit punch
Dice apples and pears and strawberries and madarins… and mix with You’s Time Light soda (You’s Time Light and soda in a ratio of 7:3)
6. Oriental cocktail
Add ginger slices into You’s Time Light. Or simply add few drops of ginger juice into your glass of You’s Time Light.
Aroma, Flavour and some nutty-gritty
Haven’t tried You’s Time Light before? It’s sort of like the Italian lemon liqueur, Limoncello. Only lighter in taste and and ABV but more refreshing! It is moderately sweet so you can give it a good chill and have it straight.
The original You’s Time
Why is You’s Time Light, well, “light”? It is actually the lighter version of the popular You’s Time developed by Saito Shuzo. Although the original You’s Time isn’t very high in ABV (just 12%), but the brewery would like to develop a product that can be enjoyed by light drinkers without compromising the full-on taste and aroma.
How did they do that? Unlike some other brands, Saito Shuzo uses ginjo shu (of which characterist would be the fruity fragrance) and the 100% yuzu juice squeezed from the yuzu fruit from Kochi prefecture. This resulted in a product that is low in alcohol content but still big on the nose and palate. A lot of customers said that You’s Time is easy to drink but You’s Time Light is even easier! It’s sort of like drinking juice, so light and refreshing! Oh, FYI, the cloudy matters accumulated within the neck of the bottle is actually the extracts of yuzu. Now you can see what You’s Time Light is light but still tastes and smells wonderful .
Please now enjoy you’s time I mean your time!
《 You’s Time Light X RedBull Collaboration!!!!!! 》
Do you know Famous Energy Drink “RedBull”collaborate with “You’s Time Light”in Japan?
We called it “You’s Red”!!
You’s Time Light produced by Eikun in Kyoto-Prefecture which won the Gold award 14 years in a row in New Brew of Sake Competition.
You’s Time Light contains 5 % alcohol and plenty of juicy YUZU.
Therefore, it is really popular for everybody, especially for Women!!
Asian and Western’s collaboration create new type of drink wichi is healty for body and soul.
You’s Aroma and slight sour taste with soda should be accent and makes you feel fresh.
You will find this amazing taste addictive!!
Why don’t you try to make this “You’s Red” cocktail and get new experience!!
|【“You’s Red” recipe】
You’s time light mix with Redbull half and half (5:5)
In the mid-late nineties I lived in Auckland, and at the time I thought the best thing about the place was that from most locations you could be out of the city in less than 30 minutes. This says a lot about the quality of the motorways and how I felt about the hospitality scene, so when I went back the other day my hopes for the evening weren’t high.
I stayed downtown on the Viaduct Basin, waiting for my flight the following morning, and I’m glad to say that my views on New Zealand’s biggest city have changed. Post Rugby World Cup Auckland is a vibrant place, streets ahead of where I left it. The bar culture is thriving, and more importantly for our purposes here, the sake scene is coming along well. I’d have to say that despite Auckland’s relative isolation, it’s extremely well served on the sake front.
First port of call was Cocoro Restaurant, just off Ponsonby Road. I’ve been wanting to visit Cocoro ever since seeing it in a magazine while visiting Amabuki Brewery in Saga, and I wasn’t disappointed. The food was excellent, and the options from the sake fridge would embarrass most restaurants in Tokyo. Unsurprisingly enough, Amabuki was well represented on the menu, but the selection is vast, with a diverse range on offer (my recommendation on the combination front, try the free-range chicken thigh with a nicely chilled yamahai).
I was lucky enough to have a chat with Chef Makoto, and on his recommendation I made a booking for Soto for later that night.
Soto, despite what the helpful concierge assured me, is at the distant end of Ponsonby from K-road. It’s been serving quality Japanese cuisine for just on a decade, and is another must visit destination on your next sake tour of New Zealand. The Agedashi tofu was great, and the venison tataki is another item you need to try. After some Kozaemon Tokubetsu Junmai (it’s good to see two of my favourite breweries doing so well in my home country), and some Migaki Genshu, it was time to move on.
Last, but not least, was Ebisu, a busy bar restaurant back on the Viaduct. This was another venue I’ve been wanting to check out, based on the recommendation of good customers at my old work in Sydney. Though I didn’t have a chance to try the food, the sake specialist knew his stuff, and the range on the menu was again, excellent.
It’s true, the motorways are more congested and its harder to leave Auckland than it used to be, but with the sake scene the way that it is, and the food at the level it is, maybe it’s worth hanging around a bit, anyway.
Oh well, next stop, Japan.
Now I wonder if I can find some quality sake there…
Having earned his stripes behind bars in Sydney and the UK, Wayne is now gaining a following of fans who appreciate his original cocktail mixes and extensive knowledge of sake and shochu.
“At Saké Sydney I’m given free reign to play – our bar staff all have a great knowledge of classic cocktails and we use this as the basis for getting innovative. We also have access to the world’s finest sake and shochu varieties,” says Wayne. “My goal is to make Saké famous for its drinks!”
Saké Restaurant & Bar
12 Argyle Street, The Rocks, Sydney
T. 02 9259 5656
NIKKA WHISKY DEGUSTATION
4 COURSES MATCHED WITH
NIKKA WHISKIES & COCKTAIL
NIKKA WHISKY X HEIRLOOM
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THURSDAY, 22ND OF AUGUST 2013
6.30pm arrival for 7pm start till 9.30pm
$65 PER PERSON
131 Bourke St. Melbourne
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CONTACT US ON 03 9639 1296 OR
E-MAIL US AT email@example.com
For enquiry, email to firstname.lastname@example.org
* Sake Online does not accept any inquiries.
One of the customs that are indispensable to the lifestyle is “an apéritif “. But do you know Apéritif Day is on 6th of July?
This is an event to enjoy an apéritif all over the world came to be developed since French Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries proposed first Thursday in June every year with “the Apéritif Day” in 2004.
The apéritif is a place that let guests increase an appetite, and deepens the getting close to them. Spend a relaxed time while tasting a drink and snacks called “amuse-bouche” before a meal, and enjoying chattering with a friend and a family.
Common choices for an apéritif are vermouth; champagne; fino, amontillado or other styles of dry sherry (but not usually cream sherry, which is very sweet and rich); and any still, dry, light white wine.
For this year, why don’t you try Japanese style apéritif on that day? Here are the lists of our recommendation for you.
CHOYA | 8.9% ALC/VOL
Choya Yume Wine is a total new sensation of Japanese plum wine. It a secret blend of Choya’s signature Ume juice extracted from 100% Japanese grown Ume fruits, pure Japanese grape wine and sugar. It has a clean, smooth & light bodied sweet flavour that can be enjoyed by anyone who likes sweet white wine such as Muscat or German Riesling. Best chilled in a fridge and drink it straight up in a wine glass. Serve as an aperitif or during a meal. Unwind your day with this trendy Choya Yume Wine. Beautiful aroma of Ume fruit will take you on a dream trip to cool Japan.
Eikun You’s Time Light
SAITO SHUZO | 5.0% ALC/VOL
The prominent characteristic is the big nose. You would be mesmerized by the genuine aromatic zest of yuzu (Japanese citrus) as your glass gets closer to your lip. The minimal taste of alcohol made it so easy to drink that even sake beginner would enjoy it just like fruit juice. Serve neat, chilled or over ice.
Aai Sparkling Sake
Asahara Shuzo | 6.0% ALC/VOL
Sparkling with Japanese blue, quietly shinning blue & slim body. It is a sake new style. Super clean taste, Serve chilled and enjoy it in a flute glass.
Choya Umeshu with Plum Cup 5 cups
CHOYA | 15% ALC/VOL
A Japanese Standard Choya Umeshu with real plum fruits in a bottle. Using 100% Japanese plum fruits from Wakayama, and a real high standard Japanese traditional Umeshu. (Actually you can eat plum fruits after drinking or use it as a garnish of sake cocktail.) As a aperitif before the meal or a desert after the meal, you can always enjoy Choya Umeshu with over the ice, mixing with sparkling water or lemonade. Umeshu Fruit has a good sterilizing power in your blood. Good for your health.
Nakano BC Umeshu
Nakano BC | 14% ALC/VOL
Used one of the highest grade in ume plums harvested in Wakayama prefecture. Enjoy the taste the home of the plums.
An apéritif does not have the rule. It is French style to enjoy in oneself-style. If there are favourite drink and snacks, anywhere and anytime is your apéritif time even you are alone.
Enjoy our recommendation on Apéritif Day!
Choya Yume Wine
Choya Yume Wine is a total new sensation of Japanese plum wine. It’s a secret blend of CHOYA’s signature Ume juice extracted from 100% Japanese grown Ume fruits, pure Japanese grape wine and sugar. It has a clean, smooth & light bodied sweet flavour that can be enjoyed by anyone who likes sweet white wine such as Muscat or German Riesling. With 8.9% ALC/VOL, best chilled in a fridge and drink it straight up in a wine glass.
The taste is lighter than Umeshu, and it’s a smooth wine, which goes down easy. The name of this wine “Yume”means dream which is combined the sounds with “Ume”. So it will be easy to remember the name.
Have a good dream with CHOYA YUME WINE!