Sake (酒), is commonly known as Japanese Rice Wine made from fermented rice that has been polished to remove the bran. Sake is produced by using brewing process where the starch is then converted into sugars before converting to alcohol.
Sake is so versatile that it can be used as a food wine, making it pairing much easier than pairing food with wine. Mainly served at room temperature, but there are some sake that are served warm for its flavor.
I was very privilege, to be part of the small group of people whom was able to enjoy the recent Sake and Food Pairing Night event that was organized by Ha Na Dining Sake Bar, located on the Ground Floor, Sunway Pyramid, No 3, Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway, Kuala Lumpur. A special night with Masahiro Nagata (Principle of Gekkeikan) as the host all the way from Japan pairing with the delicious food by Chef Thomas Lim, Head Chef of Ha Na Dining Sake Bar.
My first time at Ha Na Dining Sake Bar, I was totally taken aback by how beautiful and special the place is. And not to mentioned the wonderful service from the friendly service and kitchen crew members.
Decorated specially for the event of the night, the event was held at the Bar section of Ha Na Dining Sake Bar, bringing the coziness of the place.
We started the night with a the welcome drink while waiting for the other guest to arrive
Japanese hospitality to its best level. The event that was due to start at 6.30 pm, due to the delayed arrival of some of the guests, were delayed to start around 7 pm. And lucky for us, we were offered Gekkeikan Gold Sake with Gold leaf in it while waiting as a ‘compensation’ for the delay. The medium bodies but a hint of dryness sake is of high quality made from two kinds of select rice and pure underground water.
The dinner finally start with a brief introduction by the principle and host for the night, Masahiro-San on a brief of Gekkeikan. And this was followed by another quick introduction by our friendly chef, Thomas Lim on his dishes for the evening.
We were then served with the first Sake for the night served by our friendly service crew. What I like about the whole thing is the patience from the service crew when they explain while pouring the sake, the name of the sake and basic information. So that gives me an opportunity to learn more about what I am drinking…
Our first sake, Horin Junmai Daijinjo, alcohol level of 16.7%, a dry yet rich bodied sake is paired perfectly with our first course of the night, Tapas Trio (Kaisen Shiso Kushi, Tako Hourensou & Engawa Uni Spicy Mentaiko) and Appetizer Combo of Ika Kyuuri and Namakaki Aburi Yaki. These were beautiful presented on 1 platter.
Horin Junmai Daijinjo is made from a combination of fresh spring water and Yamada Nishiki Rice, Gohyakumangoku rice with the skill of the sake master. It has a subtle flavours that are well-balanced with an exceptionally smooth finish. An ultro-premium sake that is best enjoyed chilled.
Our next course, Josen Karakuchi Dry, a Dry with a slight rich bodied sake with the alcohol level of 15.7% is served. And this sake compliments Ume Sashimi Moriawase well. Every bite into the fresh sashimi followed by a sip of Josen Karakuchi sake… its simply heavenly!
Still on the second sake of the night, Josen Karakuchi Dry, we have Agemono served next. Coming up, was our Tempura Moriawase. Another perfect pairing with Josen Karakuchi.
Very quickly, we arrived at the final sake pairing for the evening. How time flies when one is enjoying the wonderful environment while taking a step back in life to enjoy the experience of the night!
Our third course for the night, is the Black and Gold Junmai, warm sake with the alcohol level of 15.6% that is slightly sweet and full-bodied. And this sake is paired with the choice of Yakimono, either Beef Teppanyaki or Unagi Kabayaki. I was indeed very lucky to be able to try both as my ‘date’ of the night ordered one of each giving us the opportunity to try both.
My favorite sake from the night’s event, I just had to have more, right? So guess what? I had the whole bottle placed in front of me…
Part 2 of the third course, Nimono is served next. Dobin Mushi (土瓶蒸し) is a traditional Japanese seafood broth that is steamed and served with shrimp, chicken, lime and mushroom. This light soup is perfectly paired with the warm Black and Gold Junmai that is a unique blend of two sakes that is smooth and well-balanced.
A sweet ending to the dinner with home-made dessert. Matcha Ice-cream is served! Such a perfect ending to the memorable night and experience at Ha Na Dining Sake Bar.
I must admit that I have walked past this restaurant and bar several times however, never given it a try. The memorable Sake and Food Pairing Night event had given me the chance to discover what a wonderful place Ha Na Dining Sake Bar is. I will definitely be back again with my friends and family for another memorable time soon.