Kabuke, Telok Ayer
Sake lovers, rejoice as Kabuke has one of the largest array of sake I personally have ever seen in Singapore.
Even for those of you who aren’t fans of sake, it’s probably because you have not sampled the right ones.
It’s not all about alcohol here, kabuki serves up amazing modern Japanese food. So good that I even went back the very next day for more.
Here are some that we sampled. Read on to find out my thoughts on each bottle of sake.
Let’s take a look at some of the food here first. You wouldn’t want to be drinking on an empty stomach now, would you?
Here’s something a little different to start off with. The Shiso Tempura with Hotate Tartare ($15) is best eaten in one full bite (less of a mess too)!
Shiso leaves are typically used as plating decorations in most restaurants, but not here. In Kabuke, this leaf is the main part of the dish, dipped in tempura and deep fried to a nice crisp with diced scallops an ikura in truffle shoyu on top.
Next, we tried the Salmon Bruschetta ($6). This was easily one of my favourite dishes and what I ordered on my second trip back. Smoked salmon in crème fraiche and miso butter on top of a slice of toasted baguette. Simple, yet so addictive.
The Tuna Tataki ($12) was lightly cooked on the outside and nicely raw in the inside, giving you a two flavours of the fish in just one bite! And with a sweet and tangy honey ponzu sauce to it. Just lovely.
And as these three dishes came, Kabuke’s General Manager and certified sake sommelier, Keiji, comes by with a bottle of sake – Yuki No Bosha Hiden Yamahai Junmai Ginjo (pic above [left]) – which was smooth and has a fruity note to it. This sake pairs well with seafood dishes.
The Takoyaki Fries ($12) combines my two favourite snacks into one – French fries and takoyaki. It’s exactly how you would imagine it, diced octopus in fries, ikura, ebiko, takoyaki sauce, kewpie mayo, and melted cheese topped with bonito flakes.
I personally think that baby corn is a dish with not much flavour. But the Baby Corn ($10) here at Kabuke was so flavourful, dressed with a special house blend of Sriracha mayo, furikake seasoning and pork floss.
I always say: How can you ever go wrong with fried chicken? The Crispy Goma Goma Wings ($12) were coated in sesame seeds and deep fried to a crispy perfection. The best part? This dish comes with a side of yuzu mayo wasabi that is a must for all wasabi lovers.
A bottle of Nabeshima Tokubetsu Honjozo (pic above [middle]) was recommended by Keiji to go together with these three dishes. This sake was a little bit stronger and dryer than the previous one but goes very well with meat dishes.
We then moved on to some stronger tasting dishes.
I used to only have miso pork over at ANTE back in KL. But now I’ve got a new place I know I can head to in Singapore to satisfy my cravings for Miso Pork ($18). Think: Pork belly topped with ginger-infused miso and pea shoots tossed in an apple and shiso vinaigrette. A must have, in my opinion!
I myself am not a huge fan of eggplants, but I’m quite thankful that I dared myself to take a bite into the Nasu Dengaku ($9). Interestingly, the miso infused dark miso (more savoury) and light miso (more sweet) with yuzu didn’t overpower the taste of the eggplant, being a strong-flavoured condiment. Instead, it complemented the eggplants.
Here’s a one-dish wonder. The Wagyu Bowl ($28) is perfect for those of you who’re hunting for the next best truffle dish. Fragrant Japanese rice topped with tender strips of wagyu beef, an onsen egg, garlic chips and truffle shoyu drizzled all over. I can predict a food coma happening after having this! But it’ll be so worth it.
For these three flavourful dishes, Keiji recommends to pair them with the Nabeshima Tokubetsu Honjozo (pic above [right]). The strongest sake among the lot, this was pretty dry too and had a nice aroma that went well with the strong-flavoured dishes.
If you just want to come here for the drinks, might I suggest the Kabuke Cheese Platter ($25) to go with your sake.
With the amount of different sakes here at Kabuke, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d end up not being able to make your mind up. You can always have Keiji the in-house sake sommelier to help pick one out for you or you can get the Sake Flight ($24) and have a taste of three different sakes that come in 50ml glasses each.
You can even have each of the sake to pair with the difference cheeses! Like what we had here.
The best thing is, you have purposely pick your sakes to pair with the different types of cheese from the cheese platter. Bear in mind though, the Kabuke Cheese Platter changes its cheeses every few months, depending on which season it is at the moment in Japan (because Singapore’s season only comprises sunny, rainy and hazy).
I'm personally not a big fan of cheese, but this season's cheese platter did not disappoint. They were all not too strong in flavour, except for the one on the right that resembled blue cheese. What I thought was amazing was the Raisin Butter in the platter that you would eat with the crackers.
The Raisin Butter ($3) can be ordered separately and was what I came back for the very next day too. Words cannot describe my love for this. It was just amazing.
I can safely say that Kabuke has renewed my interest in sake and would be one of my go-to places for modern Japanese food around here in Telok Ayer.
200A Telok Ayer St,
Tel: +65 8822 5525