Gastrology recently joined Australia's top Sake Master and Kumo Izakaya owner, Andre Bishop for an intimate dinner to enjoy the award winning cuisine from Kumo Izakaya and sake from Japan's most prestigious sake brewery - Dassai.
Standing proudly at the corner of Lygon and O'Connor Streets in Brunswick East, Kumo Izakaya and Sake Bar is a Japanese oasis which embraces the social izakaya-style side of Japanese eating and drinking. Offering a laid back environment for catching up with friends and family, Kumo Izakaya focuses on quality food designed to share all of which is served in stylish, modern Japanese surroundings.
Kumo Izakaya founder and owner Andre Bishop is one of Melbourne's quiet achievers in hospitality. Andre has been educating Australians about sake for 15 years and we thoroughly enjoyed learning all about sake from Australia's master of sake.
Andre has also been at the forefront of Asian dinning and drinking culture, crafting many venues over the years including Robot Bar, Golden Monkey, Izakaya Chuji, Nihonshu Sake Bar and Kumo Izakaya. Andre's dedication to sake earned him the title of Sake Samurai from the Japanese Sake & Shochu Association in 2013.
Dassai is recognised as one of the world’s most prestigious sake. Japan Prime Minister Abe, presented President Obama with a bottle of Dassai 23 when they met recently this year. Dassai sake is renowned for its highly aromatic smooth sake that has won many people over to premium sake, many of whom have never tried sake before. Using tradition methods blended seamlessly with cutting edge technology, and the best sake rice Japan can produce, Dassai has a cult following in Japan and around the world.
The Dassai 23 was outstanding. With its rice milling of 23% which is the highest milling of all commercial sake, we were impressed by its gorgeous aroma of melons and peaches, and elegant long finish. It paired exceptionally well with our selection of sashimi.
The sashimi plate featured a variety of sliced raw fish. Each slice of fish had an enjoyably firm yet soft texture. Of particular note were the plump, sweet scallops. It is clear that Kumo Izakaya are using only the freshest, highest quality seafood.
The Dassai 39 was notable for its smooth and mellow taste married with its refreshing finish.
We enjoyed pairing this sake with the pork belly butakushi skewers with miso onion salsa. The Dassai 39 echoed the umami of the pork belly and its slight acidity cut through the richness of the pork fat.
Our dinner at Kumo ended of a festive note with a tasting of Dassai 50 sparkling. Unpasteurized, and naturally carbonated, the Dassai was fruity and refreshing. We loved its complex balance between sweet and dry tastes.
We loved pairing the Dassai 50 sparkling with the plump scallops which were perfectly seared and bursting with natural flavour. The scallop’s natural flavour was further enhanced by the restrained sweetness of the Dassai 50 sparkling.
At Kumo Izakaya, food and sake pairing is a key focus. We loved tasting through three sake from the Dassai portfolio whilst enjoying Kumo Izakaya’s award winning Japanese cuisine.