It’s time to re-write the “rules” that seafood goes better with white wine. While the latter has long been the star choice for food pairings when it comes to seafood dining, it may not remain that way for long.

Sake is fast gaining popularity, having emerged as a contender for the best alcoholic drink to enjoy with seafood, instead of white wine.

Wine contains iron, present as a result of mineral content in soil, which is responsible for the occasional fishy, unpleasant odour when paired with your marine favourites. Sake, on the other hand, hardly contains any iron and as such, does not produce an unpalatable odour when paired with seafood.

In addition, a 2015 study on wine and sake tastings conducted by Japanese researcher Hitoshi Utsunomiya found that sulphurous acid in wine, when combined with fatty acid in seafood, promotes oxidation of the fatty acid, which increases bitterness. But with sake, its fermentation process actually helps generate amino acids that make up the delightful, sweet-savoury taste we call umami.

When it comes to pairing food and drink, it’s tricky nailing the right combination of flavours and aromas. Choosing sake to pair with seafood is ideal to intensify the latter’s umami taste, thus enhancing the overall flavour of the dish.

To showcase sake’s versatility across cuisines, some of the best restaurants in Singapore offering a variety of cuisines, such as French, Spanish, Indian, Nordic and even Australian barbecue, have curated a special selection of sake and seafood pairing dishes.

Organised by The Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Center, in conjunction with participating restaurants, the “Seafood Loves Sake” restaurant campaign brings premium sake flown in from different prefectures of Japan to these fine-dining establishments, each with their own unique seafood and sake pairing menu.

From Oct 1 to Nov 30, experience perfect pairings of sake with gourmet meals at these restaurants.

béni


Pairing dish: Signature Scallop X ZAKU Kanade No Tomo. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

Integrating authentic French cuisine with Japanese seasonal produce is the hallmark of béni, where head chef Kenji Yamanaka specialises in preparing meat dishes and seafood. The sweetness of the signature scallop goes superbly with the refreshing aroma and subtle acidity of the ZAKU Kanade No Tomo sake.

Other pairing dishes to try:
1) Antonius Oscietra Caviar X Mutsu Hassen Hanaomoi 40

Where: 333A Orchard Road, #02-37, Mandarin Gallery
Tel: 9159-3177
Website: http://www.beni-sg.com/

Burnt Ends


Pairing dish: Kingfish Collar, Miso and Lemongrass X ZAKU Gen No Tomo. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

Burnt Ends is known for its expertly grilled meats and seafood over a coal, apple or almond wood fire. The intense flavours of barbecued offerings dished out by chef Dave Pynt and his crew are guaranteed to hit the spot. The expertly chosen high-acidity ZAKU Gen No Tomo sake helps cut through the flavours of the firm, fatty kingfish to relieve the palate.

Where: 20 Teck Lim Road
Tel: 6224-3933
Website: https://burntends.com.sg/

CURATE


Pairing dish: Pan-seared Pike Perch / Smoked Beurre Blanc / Le Puy Lentils X Tatenokawa Seiryu. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

For artistry served on a plate, look no further than contemporary European institution CURATE. Every quarter, the restaurant invites illustrious guest chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants to showcase a multi-sensory gastronomic experience alongside its resident chef. The light, fruity Tatenokawa Seiryu pairs perfectly with mildly flavoured perch and smoked beurre blanc (classic butter) sauce.

Other pairing dishes to try:
1) Malt Glazed Hokkaido Scallop / Sauerkraut consommé / Pork Terrine / Parsley Oil X John Sparkling IWC Trophy 2016

Where: The Forum Level 1, Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island
Tel: 6577-7288 / 6577-6688
Website: https://www.rwsentosa.com/en/restaurants/curate/overview

FOC Restaurant


Pairing dish: Prawn, Scallop and Sweet Potato Ravioli X Sanzen Daiginjo. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

FOC was born from a desire to pay homage to Catalonian cuisine. Group ambassador and culinary director Jordi Noguera reinterprets authentic Spanish classics for the local palate and gives them a flavourful, smoky zing with the help of his Josper grill (an oven and charcoal grill rolled into one). The crisp freshness of sweet potato and subtle sweetness of prawns and scallops is perfect with well-rounded Sanzen.

Other pairing dishes to try:
1) Grilled Galician Octopus and Pork Belly Skewer X Hatsukame Tokubetsu Junmai Homarefuji
2) Grilled Mediterranean Tuna Belly with Strawberries and Green Apple X Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50
3) Sea Urchin Toast with Mushroom and Crispy Iberico Ham X John Sparkling IWC Trophy 2016
4) Alaskan King Crab Canelon X KATAFUNE Tokubetsu Honjozo
5) Squid Ink Paella with Seafood X Shimazaki Junmai Yamahai Uroko

Where: 40 Hongkong Street
Tel: 6100-4040
Website: http://focrestaurant.com/

Iggy’s


Pairing dish: Grilled Amadai with Smoked Zucchini, Cabbage Wrapped Luffa & Seaweed-Butter Sauce X Hideyoshi Junmai Daiginjo. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

Named after its culinary director and sommelier Ignatius Chan, Iggy’s is famous for its speciality in modern European with an Asian twist. Its seasonal menu emphasises the use of quality Japanese ingredients to create bold flavours that take diners by surprise. With a delicate texture and intense umami flavour from being cooked with seaweed-butter sauce, amadai pairs delightfully with the sweet, citrusy notes of Hideyoshi Junmai Daiginjo.

Other pairing dishes to try:
1) Hokkaido Scallop Tartare, Bafun Uni, Oscietra Caviar & Coriander Oil X Kinryo Junmai Yamahai

Where: 581 Orchard Road, Level 3, Hilton Hotel
Tel: 8188-3200 / 6732-2234
Website: http://www.iggys.com.sg

Morsels


Pairing dish: Oyster on half, Mangosteen Shrub, Marigold Cress, Himono Kuhlbarra Barramundi, Berry Jam, Toast X Mutsu Hassen Pink Label. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

Founded and run by former banker Petrina Loh, Morsels is her labour of love and expression of creativity. Her bold experimentation always results in palate-pleasing fusion dishes that engage the senses. In crafting her menu, she always seeks to bring out the natural flavours of the ingredients in her scrumptious creations. Whet your appetite with the light and slightly acidic Mutsu Hassen Pink Label sake that pairs well with the oysters that are high in amino acid, mangosteen shrub and fruit jam.

Other pairing dishes to try:
1) Wild Sri-Lankan Prawns, Pistachio Yogurt, Scamorza Sweet Potato, Venus Clams, Fig Chicken Broth, Homemade Kimchi X Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50
2) House-poached Charred Octopus, Squid Ink Pearl Rice Risotto, Salted Egg Sauce X Shimazaki Junmai Yamahai Uroko
3) Aged Wild NZ Tarakihi, Tri-Color Quinoa, Red Wine Lees Sauce X Hanahato Kijoshu aged 8 years

Where: 25 Dempsey Road, #01-04
Tel: 6266-3822
Website: http://www.morsels.com.sg/

Nouri


Pairing dish: Black Pepper Crab X Shimazaki Junmai Yamahai Uroko. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

Great cuisine is a product of cultures intersecting at some point in history, so it’s no wonder the flavours at Nouri are dynamic, yet always familiar. This is, in part, because of chef-owner Ivan Brehm’s own unique lineage — he has Italian, German, Russian, Spanish, Lebanese, Syrian and Brazilian roots — which explains his innovative take on food. The succulent crab is drenched in rich black pepper sauce and pairs beautifully with the Yamahai (featuring more pronounced acidic notes).

Other pairing dishes to try:
1) Parsley, Kulim and Hazelnut Fish X Kamoizumi Aged Junmai Ginjo Sachi 1997
2) Scallop Coconut X Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50

Where: 72 Amoy Street
Tel: 6221-4148
Website: http://nouri.com.sg/

Preludio


Pairing dish: Monkfish / Seasonal Mushrooms / Truffle / Cod Liver X Kamoizumi Aged Junmai Ginjo Sachi 1997. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

Prepare to embrace the unexpected at Preludio. Its concept of “author’s cuisine” means executive chef Fernando Arévalo and his adventurous team are free to dream up artistic combinations of flavours and textures to take diners on a memorable epicurean adventure. The earthy Kamoizumi Aged Junmai Ginjo Sachi 1997 is paired with the mild, but pleasing, taste of monkfish — with a dash of vin jaune (a type of French wine) to round things up.

Other pairing dishes to try:
1) Obsiblue Prawn / Mangosteen / Almond / Caviar X Keigetsu Cel24 Junmai Daiginjo 50
2) Nantucket Scallop / Black Garlic / Salted Corn X ZAKU Kanade No Tomo

Where: 182 Cecil Street, #03-01/02, Frasers Tower
Tel: 6904-5686
Website: http://preludio.sg/

Punjab Grill


Pairing dish: Pan-seared Tellicherry Pepper Prawn, Coconut & Curry Leaves Sauce X Kinryo Junmai Yamahai. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

Considered one of Singapore’s premier fine-dining Indian restaurants, Punjab Grill is famed for reinventing food from the Punjab region. Under its corporate chef Javed Ahamad, the restaurant blends the best flavours from nations like Lahore, Amritsar and Multan into one divine melting pot. The pepper prawn dish boasts a complementary balance between the rich, aromatic spices used to cook the seafood and full-bodied Kinryo Junmai Yamahai.

Other pairing dishes to try:
1) Chargrilled Basil & Grainy Mustard Flavour Barramundi Fish Tikka X Uzume Tokubetsu Junmai

Where: 2 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (South Podium), B1-01A
Tel: 6688-7395
Website: http://www.punjabgrill.com.sg/

Whitegrass


Pairing dish: INA Mackerel, Fennel, Apple Fuji X ALPHA Kaze no Mori TYPE 3. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

Putting a modern Japanese spin on classic French culinary techniques, Whitegrass specialises in nature-inspired fare. Courtesy of new head chef Takuya Yamashita’s deep respect for nature’s bounty, seasonal ingredients play a starring role in the menu at the restaurant. Pairing the rich, fruity taste of ALPHA Kaze no Mori TYPE 3 with the vinegared mackerel and fennel enhances the overall flavour of this delicate dish.

Other pairing dishes to try:
1) Hokkaido Crab, Somen, Sherry Vinegar X Hanahato Kijoshu aged 8 years

Where: 30 Victoria Street, #01-26, Chjimes
Tel: 6837-0402
Website: https://www.whitegrass.com.sg/

Zén


Pairing dish: Norwegian Scallop and Bafun Uni Crudo with fermented plum and salted tomato water, watermelon radish and olive oil X John Sparkling IWC Trophy 2016. PHOTO: THE JAPAN FOOD PRODUCT OVERSEAS PROMOTION CENTER

Nordic fine dining made a splash late last year with the arrival of Zen, a sister restaurant of the three-Michelin-starred Swedish establishment Frantzén. Headed by executive chef Tristin Farmer, Zen’s menu is inspired by Japanese kaiseki (a traditional multi-course meal). The dish combines the bolder umami taste of Bafun uni (harvested in deeper waters) with a hint of melon in the John Sparkling IWC Trophy 2016.

Other pairing dishes to try:
1) Chawanmushi, Pork Belly Dashi, topped with Rossini Golden Osetra Caviar X Tamagawa Spontaneous Fermentation Junmaishu (Yamahai) “Vintage”

Where: 41 Bukit Pasoh Road
Tel: 6534-8880
Website: http://www.restaurantzen.com/