Always on offer at Japanese restaurants or popping up in Asian cooking, Sake is still a mystery to most. So we asked Ebisu’s Sake specialist Wayne Shennan to talk us through the Japanese drink. One of just 129 Advanced Sake Professionals worldwide, the man knows what he’s talking about. And with a few new dishes on offer at the Quay Street restaurant, we really couldn’t have timed our taste test better.

Wayne’s top tips:

    1. It is pronounced ‘Sah-Keh’
    2. Entrees and light dishes are best paired with high-grade Sake, while heavier, main meals match more intense, low grade varieties. Simply put, for the best pairings, start with a Sake from the top of Ebisu’s menu and work your way down as you dine.
    3. Don’t shot it. This isn’t the same Sake that left you with horrendous hangovers in your university days…Sake is a delicate rice wine, designed to be sipped.
    4. Ask for advice. The traditional Japanese drink is best enjoyed when matched to your meal, so sing out to your waiter or speak with Wayne to find the perfect pairing.
    5. If you don’t like one, try another. Just like wine, every Sake is unique and it’s all about personal preference.
    6. Don’t be put off by the alcohol content. Most Sake sits around 16% alcohol, closer to that of wine than whiskey.
    7. Toast with ‘Kanpai!’ the Japanese equivalent of ‘Cheers!’

It’s easy to be a little sceptical of Sake, but with a constantly developing menu and bottles sourced exclusively from boutique breweries in Japan, you can be sure Ebisu’s menu offers nothing but the best. Wayne’s there Tuesday-Saturday evenings and happy to answer any questions guests may have, or for more on his ever-evolving drinks menu check out the October issue of Scenezine.

Kanpai!