Monday, September 20, 2021

SAKEMARU Artisan Sake Hideout @ South Bridge Road - Journey Through 300 Different Types Of Sake With Modern Kappo-style Japanese Cuisine


SAKEMARU Artisan Sake Hideout at South Bridge Road is a haven created for the sake of aficionados and novices alike. At any one time each season, it carries around 300 types of artisanal sake. First established as an online sake subscription service provider for five years, SAKEMARU ventured into their first restaurant business. The dine-in restaurant offers an impressive range of artisanal sakes and a modern Kappo-style Japanese cuisine fronting the restaurant.

The sake and food menus are seasonal, with the former curated by Head Sommelier Tadashi Okushima, one of the honorary Sake sommeliers designated by the Japan Sake Sommelier Association, the latter executed by Head Chef Daisuke Yomogi. You can opt for a 15-course Omakase tasting menu for $200, with an optional Sake pairing that comes highly recommended. At Sakemaru, you will get to taste sakes that are rarely available, even in Japan, as they work closely with small and unknown but excellent breweries in Japan.

Persimmon and Tiger Shrimp 4/5

Our tasting was a 9-course Omakase with an opening course featuring Persimmon and Tiger Shrimp with Sesame Tofu Sauce. The nutty and savoury sauce complements the key ingredients, which are inherently on the sweet side.

Wagyu Uni Sushi 3.8/5

The theatrical effect of this course was when the Chef unveiled the Wagyu Uni Sushi hidden underneath the whole Persimmon. It won us over with its luscious and mouth-filling combination of wagyu and uni.

Kasaichiyo Casareccio

The sake to kickstart our dinner was Kasaichiyo Casareccio from the Kyoto Prefecture. Brewed with White Koji, this Sake is perfect for starting any meal with extremely fruity notes and considerably low alcohol content. It is one of our favourites of the night.

Teapot Soup 4/5

Nigiri Salmon Ikura Steamed Sushi 3.5/5

Shichisui Yumesasara 40

For Appetiser, we had a comforting Teapot soup - Matsutake Mushroom and Pike Cougar Steamed In Teapot, followed by Nigiri Salmon Ikura Steamed Sushi. A simple dish but elevated with zest from Japanese lime. They are paired with a slightly stronger Shichisui Yumesasara 40 from the Tochigi Prefecture.

Horse Mackerel Wrapped in Radish 3.5/5

Sliced Usujukuri with Uni 3.5/5

Bluefin Tuna 4/5

We had Seasonal Sashimi 3 Kinds - Horse Mackerel Wrapped in Radish, Sliced Usujukuri with Uni and Bluefin Tuna for the Sashimi course. I appreciate how each kind of sashimi was presented individually and treated differently, which brought an entirely new experience to eating the same ingredients that I had before. That certainly prolonged the pleasure of pairing them with Sharaku Junmai Ginjo Yamadanishiki from the Fukushima Prefecture. If you are good, you might detect banana notes in it.

Grilled Miyazaki A5 Sirloin 4/5

Next, we had Grilled Miyazaki A5 Sirloin with Japanese Yam on Hoba Leaf. One of the joys of this course is watching the Chef at work - smoking the Hoba Leaf, grilling the sirloin and eventually placing the beautiful dish in front of me. The Hoba Leaf evoked a sense of walking in the woods, with the yam and Japanese green pepper adding a touch of rustiness to the plating. The Sirloin, though I thought it needed to be slightly more charred to render its fats was still yummy with the help of rich and savoury dark miso sauce. This course is accompanied by Tengumai Yamahai Junmai from the Ishikawa Prefecture, served at 30 degrees Celcius. The key to note about this sake is that it is produced using a very traditional method: Yamahai Style. I learned that such a method has a wilder flavour in sake, perhaps explaining its interesting mushroom notes.

Hairy Crab with Tosazu Jelly Sauce 4/5

Tatenokawa Muga Junmai Daiginjo Nama

We also had a dish to refresh our senses in between - a chilled dish featuring Hairy Crab with Tosazu Jelly Sauce. The combination is sweet, citrusy and tangy. It did what it was meant to do - awakening my taste buds, alongside a serving of Tatenokawa Muga Junmai Daiginjo Nama from the Yamagata Prefecture.

Fig Tempura 4.5/5

Deep-fried Pacific Saury 4/5

Nabeshima Blossom Moon

The Deep-Fried item stood out for me. First, we had Fig Tempura served with Miso Sauce and Yuzu Zest, followed by the Deep-fried Pacific Saury rolled with Shiso basil, served with Ume Sauce. Coated with a light tempura batter, deep-frying the fig seemed to change both its flavour and texture profile, for it reminded me so much of a fried Breadfruit. The sake paired with it was a highlight for me - Nabeshima Blossom Moon from Saga Prefecture. Using Tajima Gouriki rice, it has very distinct strawberry notes.

Mushroom and Sea Eel Claypot Rice 4.5/5

After so much drink, a carbs-heavy dish in the Mushroom and Sea Eel Claypot Rice served with Miso Soup is always welcome. It showcases the simplicity of Japanese claypot rice and how one can derive such extreme comfort from eating it. With that, indeed, perhaps the perfect pairing will have to be this Kuromatsu Kenbishi, served at 45 degrees Celcius. Being one of the most rustic styles of sakes from the Hyogo Prefecture, it has characteristic mushroom notes that syncs with the dish.

Shine Muscat Daifuku 4.8/5

Rounding off the meal was a mellow sweet Shine Muscat Daifuku served with hot tea. It marries the beauty of the Japanese Shine Muscat with one of our most well-loved traditional Japanese dessert.


From $55 a month for the classic plan, SAKEMARU subscribers get a 720ml bottle of seasonal Junmai or Junmai Gingo grade sake. Some of the sake breweries are Tempoichi Shuzo, a 106-year-old small brewery in Hiroshima, Kikuzakari Shuzo, a family-run brewery from Iwate Prefecture and Mikunibare Shuzo, a 131-year-old brewery in Ikuji Kurobe, famed for its water quality. The sakes from Sakemaru are available exclusively through them.

Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.

SAKEMARU Artisan Sake Hideout
55 South Bridge Road
Singapore 058686
Tel: +65 65132789
Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay (NE Line), Raffles Place (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat:3pm – 1145pm
(Closed on Sun)

1) Alight at Clarke Quay MRT station. Take Exit E. Cross the road and walk to Carpenter Street. Walk down Carpenter Street to South Bridge Road. Cross the road and walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Raffles Place MRT station. Take Exit G. Walk down Chulia Street to North Canal Road. Walk to the junction of North Canal Road and South Bridge Road. Turn right onto South Bridge Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]

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