Monday, 20 February 2017

Tatenokawa sake pairing dinner at Roka Mayfair

Written by Katrina Schollenberger

ROKA Mayfair

30 N Audley Street

London

W1K GHP

Star-rating-5-stars-590

This week the Gourmet Girls were invited to ROKA Mayfair's Roka x Tatenokawa sake pairing dinner. A food review series title has never felt more appropriate, as Roka is one of the top contemporary hotspots for Japanese dining in London.

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ROKA Mayfair has a very sophisticated yet warm ambiance, created by the robatayaki cuisine elements the restaurant was founded on. Robatayaki is a method of cooking, not dissimilar to barbecuing, where food is slow grilled over hot charcoal on skewers. The method originates from fishermen off the north coast of Japan, who would catch and cook their fish on the robata grill before sharing their spoils with one another.

Not only were we to be sampling some of ROKA's finest dishes that evening, but also embarking on an in depth sake tasting lesson provided by representatives of the Tatenokawa company. One had even flown all the way from Japan for the evening, donning a full traditional kimono dress. It certainly made the event feel exclusive and special.

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Finishing up a bowl of salted edamame, conversation was flowing on our table. We were placed with sake enthusiasts who had come along to the evening to show appreciation for their favourite culture, food, and of course, tipple. I felt as if we were truly embracing ROKA's sharing principles as we sipped our first sake: Hatsufune Junmai Daiginjo, the purest, unfiltered, unpasteurised sake on the market. Shortly after came our first course, a selection of marinated grilled eel, wagyu beef and seared beef striploin with black truffle dressing nigari. This was to go with the 8 "ULTRA" Kyokugen Junmai Daiginjo. We were advised at the table to eat and drink the sake at the same time to maximise its flavour.

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Shortly after the 50 "Stream" Seiryu Junmai Daiginjo was poured, a sharing platter was brought out. This included sashimi, lemon, chilli, ginger and yellowfin tartar, sesame crackers, wagyu sushi, oscietra caviar, Alaskan crab and seaweed snaps. Fresh wasabi was also grated on a samegawa grater made from shark skin, producing a super fine paste and optimising flavour from the root.

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Our next three courses included scallop skewers, shishito pepper tempura with yuzu mayonnaise and crushed wasabi peas and kombu smoked duck breast with barley miso and Sharon fruit. All delectable and followed with 33 "3 Peaks" Junmai Daiginjo. I'd never had so many different kinds of sake before in one sitting, but the difference in strength, variety and flavours was astounding.
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The savoury portion of the dinner was finished off with grilled lobster with yuzu koshu mayonnaise and lotus crisps, tender stem broccoli and a rice hot pot with Japanese mushrooms and truffles. This was paired with the superb 18 "EIGHTEEN" Junmai Daiginjo Nakadori. We finished the evening with one of the most fantastic dessert platters I've ever laid eyes on, featuring sorbets, banana and caramel drizzled fritters, cheesecake, chocolate and green tea puddings, fruit and bowls of sweetly glazed nuts with ice cream.

11

The dessert sake was easily my favourite, the Kadakara Mature Nanko Umeshu. This was a plum wine 'made by steeping mature Nanko plums in a base of Tatenokawa sake, and sake lees shochu'. It was refreshing, light and fruity, and complimented the platter accordingly. If you're looking for a night out in London incorporating culture, experience, and world class food, book your next seat at ROKA Mayfair's sake pairing dinner.

• The next pairing dinner will be on 3rd April, with sakes from the Shirakabegura brewery. The pairing evening will commence with an aperitif at 6.30pm, followed by dinner served at 7pm. It will be priced at £90 pp.
• To book, please contact Sammie Ellard-King on 07545244570 or email Sammie@rokarestaurant.com


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