We recently attended the Kamoshibito Kuheiji Sake Pairing Dinner by TMI Trading (the exclusive importer and distributor in Malaysia) at DC Restaurant by Darren Chin on 2 October 2020. Kamoshibito Kuheiji Sake is produced by the Banjo Jozo Brewery which was founded by Kuheiji family back in 1674.
I’ve attended many tastings and pairings over the years, from whisky to cognac, vodka, tequila, mezcal, wine and of course sake. However, every sake pairing that I’ve attended was always with Japanese food, as sake being a Japanese product naturally goes very well with Japanese cuisine.
Therefore, I was quite intrigued to attend this pairing of Kamoshibito Kuheiji Sake at DC Restaurant by Darren Chin, which serves modern French fine-dining cuisine. How would sake pair with the rich flavours of French cuisine which typically contains butter, cream and cheese, which is in stark contrast to the clean, fresh flavours of Japanese cuisine.
Kuheiji grows its own rice in Kuroda-Sho, Hyogo Prefecture, Akaiwa, Okayama Prefecture, and Camargue, France. Kamoshibito Kuheiji is brewed without added alcohol and bottled without reduction, with the nihonshu sakes all in the premium junmai-ginjo or junmai-dai-ginjo categories.
Kamoshibito Kuheiji sakes have a higher-than-average level of acidity, a high level of minerality, and an extremely rich character, allowing them to pair perfectly with Western cuisine, which uses more oil and butter than Japanese cuisine. This goes against the common perception that sake can only be paired with Japanese food.
Brewed as naturally as possible, the sakes are also very resilient: once a bottle has been opened it can be stored in the fridge for at least two months.
“Devotion to handcrafted sake, meticulous attention to detail and commitment to quality. From growing their own rice to koji making, the Kuheiji sake making process is entirely human-monitored and handmade”.
-Tempura of oba leaf with king crab, Uni and fresh wasabi-
-Crispy White fungus in mushroom stock, fresh goat cheese and bottarga boreale skrei pearls
-mini tartlet of cured mackerel and pickled daikon
-K.crab mascarpone, heirloom tomatoes, crispy skrei fish skin
Paired with Kuheiji Junmai Daiginjo ‘Kyoden’
The Kuheiji Junmai Daiginjo ‘Kyoden’ has a refreshing scent of tropical country fruits, with nuances of Japanese herbs such as perilla, tree buds, and Japanese pepper. An elegant acidity is present in the extension of the bitterness and astringent taste of grapefruit skin, making this premium sake a good match for oily and richer dishes. The wild taste, which is the greatest feature of Omachi, is linked to the umami and lingering taste by polishing the rice to 40%.
Tempura, sweet corn velouté, Lofoten umami sprinkle, white & yellow heirloom beets
Paired with Kuheiji Junmai Daiginjo *’Hinokishi’
On the nose, we got the scent of pear and delicate jasmine flowers, and fennel notes, finished with the spicy aroma of white pepper. Over time, richer and more spicy notes will begin to appear, like the aroma of the slightly damp earth. On the palate, the sake feels youthful, imparting the same notes as the aroma. It has a long finish, typical of the delicacy of Yamada Nishiki.
Spencer gulf Hiramasa Australian king fish
With jalapeño, “kaviari” gold standard Ossetra caviar, aged ponzu
Paired with Kuheiji Junmai Daiginjo Yamadanishiki *’Eau Du Desir’
“Eau du Desir” means “water of hope”. The Kuheiji Junmai Daiginjo Yamadanishiki *’Eau Du Desir’ imparted lush aromas of grapefruit and herbs. On the palate, we detected gentle honey-like sweetness followed by soft acidity and a hint of minerality. This sake is adopted by 3-Star Michelin restaurants in Paris and widely popular among ladies. The sweetness of the sake worked to complement the umaminess of the king fish and caviar.
Scottish Diver Scallops
With Leeks a la étuver, bone jus reduction, last season’s white truffle paté
Served with Kuheiji Junmai Daiginjo ‘Betsuatsurae’
The Kuheiji Junmai Daiginjo ‘Betsuatsurae’ has aromas of Andean melon, pear and apple skin, with a faint scent of lychee, leaves and cypress. On the palate, we got the sweetness of white chocolate with a slight astringency like the white part of mandarin orange peel. This elegant sake is creamy and rich, matching beautifully with the scallops.
4th Course – Choice of mains
Norwegian wild Skrei Cod encrusted with crispy edible potato scales, carrot puree, black trumpet mushrooms, whipped beurre blanc sauce
Served with Kuheiji Junmai Daiginjo Omachi ‘Sauvage’
Australian Sanger Lamb (Pasture fed)
Grilled over binchotan with sweet potato coffee cream, roasted sweet potato and nashi pear.
Served with Kuheiji Junmai Daiginjo Omachi ‘Sauvage’
The Kuheiji Junmai Daiginjo Omachi ‘Sauvage’ is perfectly balanced sake that is refreshingly dry with flinty mineral notes and a mildly bitter aftertaste. When it is served in a big red wine glass, its mineral character becomes more expressive, making it perfect to accompany meats like lamb.
4th Course – Choice of Dessert or Cheese
Chitose Cameron strawberries in honey and lime, white chocolate mousse wrapped in strawberry gellee, pistachio dacquoise, yuzu-strawberry tarragon sorbet.
5 types of A.O.P cheeses from our cheese trolley
Accompanied with fresh honeycomb, wild flower nectar collected from the hills of
Mae-rim Province, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The Kamoshibito Kuheiji sake pairing menu is currently available at DC Restaurant.
Kamoshibito Kuheiji (https://kuheiji.co.jp/en/) sakes are distributed in Malaysia by TMI Trading.
TMI Trading Sdn. Bhd. was incorporated in Malaysia on 20 May 2016 and is primarily engaged in trading, import, export, warehousing and organizing food fairs to meet both local and international market demand.
TMI Trading supplies food and food products, raw materials and semi manufactured products for the processing industry, wholesalers, retailers as well as some of the top restaurants and bars in Malaysia.
Photo credits: TMI Trading and author’s own