Sake To Be Savoured
Dassai Bar 23
Head and shoulders above your average neighbourhood izakaya, Dassai Bar 23 is one of the city’s sleekest new bars tucked away in Tokyo Square Garden and stocked with a minimal six grades of sake, along with two varieties of its patent bubbly nigori-shu. A slender selection maybe, but with an array of awards including the Monde Selection 2002 Gold Medal, this is all anyone needs to experience some of Japan’s best sake, and the simple setting replete with slick cedarwood bar and a mere eight barstools intently shies away from distracting the senses.
The three-glass taster set, served in a shallow dish-like glass designed to release the sake’s subtle fragrances, perfectly showcases their finest with Dassai 39, Sono Saki-e, and the award-winning Dassai 23, while light bar bites such as Karasumi salt-cured mullet roe and Dassai Sake Manju, a steamed bun stuffed with sweet Azuki beans and sprayed with Dassai 23, serve to complement the liquor’s nuances. Originating from Asahi Shuzo, a remote Yamaguchi micro-brewery, the bar’s sake is made from Yamada Nishiki rice which is painstakingly polished down to a proportion of its original size - the Dassai 23, for example, has been reduced to an astonishing 23%. But above all, this masterful brewery prides itself on producing sake that is fit for sipping and not drinking, so take the time to savour this historical brew and avoid red-faced merriment at all costs!