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Sake Sanctuary ‘Saketen’ Marrying Italian Aperitivo And Japanese Izakaya Sundowner Cultures

September 25, 2019 Dining No Comments Email Email

Cosy sake sanctuary SAKETEN is marrying the ‘after work’ sundowner cultures of Italy’s aperitivo tradition and Japan’s izakaya rendezvous with complimentary snacks on the house accompanying artisan sake or premium Japanese beer between 5–8pm from Monday to Saturday.

The tapas-style snacks are with any ‘happy hour’ order of sake or Suntory Premium Malt Beer at the intimate, convivial sake sanctuary tucked behind NOJO Ramen x Izakaya at hip and trendy H Code off Pottinger Street.

Occupying 400 sq ft with a cosy bar area and social standing bar, SAKETEN is a boutique, intimate venue for pre or post dinner drinks.  Paying homage to traditional sake retail shops, it focuses on one-on-one service by the attentive team – including Japanese sake sommelier Yoko Isagoda – with vast knowledge of the seasonal, limited-edition and mainstream sakes they explain and present.

SAKETEN features a curated collection of sake from ten breweries – hence the name ‘SAKETEN’ – featured in rotation on a periodic, seasonal basis.

They range from classic establishments like Hakutsuru, one of Japan’s largest sake producers with celebrated ‘small batch’ releases; to rising stars such as Nihonshu Oendan, renowned for unpasteurised, undiluted and non-charcoal filtered sake; private label Kikusaki, designed to showcase diversity in the sake world; Domaine Senkin celebrating terroir, or ‘sense of place’, of sake; Shichiken, from a UNESCO-listed mountain rest stop; Fukuju, named after one of Japan’s seven lucky gods; traditional sake-maker Choryo, neighbouring the ‘Omiwa Jinja’ shrine to the sake gods; Katsuyama, producing the same flavours they did for royalty, feudal lords and samural over 300 years ago; Takizawa, in a famous historic ebony blackstone reserve; and Daimon, one of the few sake breweries in Osaka.

As in Italy, where aperitivo drinks are enjoyed with small bites, ‘Aperitivo at SAKETEN’’ is serving complimentary appetisers that are normally on the a la carte menu, featuring signature Sushi Crackers in five tasty flavours – Tuna GravlaxBocconciniSmoked DuckMoromi MisoUnagi, ZucchiniUni, Wagyu; and Ikura, Avocado. And Small Bites highlighting Braised Chicken GristleBlack Pepper Beef Jerky and Walnut and Date Mini Sando.

Suggested aperitivo pairings are: Kakeya Shimane Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama Genshu Sparkling Nigori 55% with Black Pepper Beef Jerky; and Kunisaki Oita Tokubetsu Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu 60% with Ikura Avocado Sushi Cracker.

Seasonal sake is selected in rotation for guests to experience SAKETEN’s exceptional curated collection of over 40 sakes from 10 artisan breweries.

Also on the menu are SAKETEN’s introductory and innovative house sake, and Fruit Sakes, also called Kajitsushu, liqueurs infusing fresh fruit or concentrate with sugar and sake or shochu, enjoyed on the rocks or with soda.

In addition to sake, SAKETEN offers a bespoke draught beer programme, including a selection of premium Suntory beer plus whisky and shochu highballs.

SAKETEN founder Elliot Faber is a Canadian Certified Sommelier and Advanced Sake Professional, recognised as a ‘Sake Samurai’ by the Japan Sake Brewers Association Junior Council, and author of SAKE: The History, Stories and Craft of Japan’s Artisanal Breweries. He is co-partnered by Japan’s dynamic, trendsetting F&B Group, AP Company.

He says SAKETEN’s mission is to celebrate the diversity of the sake world through great food, drinks, music and people”.

It is also one of the few bars outside Japan offering sake on draft, from kegs flown direct from breweries in Japan in temperature-controlled containers.

Sake lovers can also purchase bottles to takeaway, with 20% discount off menu price, at an outdoor service counter.

SAKETEN is designed by Sean Dix – a renowned American interior architect based in Hong Kong and Milan – along with Elliot Faber to pay homage to rice and its great importance in the sake industry, with carefully sourced rice grain-shaped pebbles on the walls and floors of the bar.  The bevel on the 8-seat bar mirrors a more traditional pub, and three pillars of solid oak create a standing bar for 20 guests.

Each of the ten featured breweries have their framed, multi-coloured logos proudly displayed on the walls, similar to Tokyo’s Ebisu Yokocho late-night eating and drinking area.

SAKETEN is located at G/F, Shop 4, Lower Block, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong; opens from Monday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., and from Friday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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