Cover Photo courtesy: @sakecentral

From tasty cocktails to intensely zingy labels, here are some of the best places to get your sake fix

Originally made by fermenting rice that has been finely polished to remove its outer layer, sake today is one of the city’s most tattled-about beverages. Paired with plates of umami dishes and great company, there’s no better accompaniment to this full-bodied, sweet drink that also comes in a plethora of variations. 

With the city slowly opening up this month, there'll be a handful of opportunities for you to taste enticing sake mixes that include yuzu, passionfruit and berries. Sake is also seen as an incredible palette cleanser for foods paired with delicious, salty sauces—its smooth, easy-to-drink character is what makes this the ultimate beverage to savour on the weekends. Served either hot or cold, sake can be found across the city; here, we’ve listed some of the best places to try it.

See also: Where to Day Drink in Hong Kong

1. Sake Central

Tucked away inside PMQ, Sake Central has the widest range of sake in the city. Co-founded by Sake Samurai Elliot Faber, who doubles as the beverage director of both Yardbird and Ronin, the restaurant and bar has every variety you could want. Whether you’re up to try a regular brew from Kyoto or an exclusive bottle of Tenku Hakutsurunishiki from Hyogo Prefecture, pick your preference either at the bar or dining area (which also boasts a menu of delectable delights).

Sake Central, S109 - S113, Block A, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2656 6552, sake-central.com

2. Ronin

Situated in Sheung Wan, Ronin is a stylish, chic restaurant that never fails to impress you. While their food is separated into three variations (raw, smaller and bigger), Ronin's beverage offerings are exquisite. Though they are known for their whisky collection with over 100 different choices, Ronin still offers an immaculate selection curated by Harley Ling. Opt for one of their flights, which include between four and six well-rounded, handpicked selections of saké from diverse producers in Japan.

Ronin, G/F, 8 On Wo Lane, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2547 5263, roninhk.com

3. Yardbird

Specialising in moreish yakitori dishes of skewered grilled chicken, this modern Japanese izakaya and bar is owned and operated by chef Matt Abergel and Lindsay Jang (who also owns Ronin). Featuring flavoursome concoctions of highballs and bottles of sake supplied by Sunday’s Spirits, you’ll be spoilt for choice when finding the best pairing for their hearty dishes. Featuring sake brewed from Kyoto to Oita and Hyogo, Yardbird’s extensive menu is as informative as it gets. If you enjoyed some of the sake on the menu, you can also purchase them at the restaurant along with quirky T-shirts, caps and more.

Yardbird, G/F, Shops A and B, Winsome House, 154-158 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852  2547 9273, yardbirdrestaurant.com

4. The Aubrey

The Aubrey’s eccentric venue is split into two distinct bar experiences: a drawing room and a curio lounge. Up at one of the bar spaces, you’ll find the beverage manager of The Mandarin Oriental, Devender Sehgal who also leads the restaurant's convivial cocktail omakase experience. From The Aubrey's bottle collection, we recommend Tori Kai shochu, which is made from Gohyakumangoku sake rice and has been finished using 400-year-old techniques. Soft with refined sharpness, this bottle is the epitome of aroma. 

The Aubrey, 25/F, The Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2825 4001, mandarinoriental.com

5. Zuma

A lively twist on traditional Japanese dining, Zuma’s dramatic yet iconic spiral staircase is a city landmark in itself. Apart from their perennial favourites of miso-marinated black cod, Takana fried rice and plates of fresh sushi, Zuma’s saké list features some of the best choices out there. As you flick through the many pages of their drinks menu, take a look at their saké cocktail list. Enjoyable mixtures from fruity to crisp and clean can be found, including the Pina Yamamomo Spritz with yuzu tonic and homemade sparkling saké. If a cocktail isn’t to your liking, try out either their beautifully tinted pink rose sake or warm sake choices.

Zuma, Level 5 & 6, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen's Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3657 6388, zumarestaurant.com

6. Fukuro

If you’re looking to learn more about sake and its components, Fukuro does it best. Outlining the tasting notes and ingredients of each bottle, their menu showcases everything from a soft, to a mellow and creamy option. Fragrant and one-of-a-kind combinations will blow you away as sake made with strawberry bran and toasted cereal or soybean and mushroom still have their way of introducing an abundance of poise. Whatever sake you pick, it's best paired with the crowd favourite, the Crispy Caramel Butter Corn.

Fukuro, Winly Building, 1-5 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2333 8841, fukuro.com.hk

7. Zoku

Located on the second floor of The Hari, Zoku’s innovative yet timeless dining concept is one to savour. Along with a range of indulgent dishes, there are also a number of signature cocktails to try, all crafted with fine Japanese sake and wines. Among their bottle selection are aromatic choices ranging from a smooth and textured Dan Junmai Ginjo Aiyama to a lavish bottle of the Juyondai Black Label with the sweet tropical aroma of lychee.

Zoku,  2/F, The Hari, 330 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, +852 2129 0338, thehari.com

8. Toritama

Serving up an authentic yakitori experience, Toritama is the perfect place to book a seat. Aside from their irresistible yakitori selection, the restaurant also boasts a wide selection of 80 different types of sake—you’ll undoubtedly walk away with a heightened palette for the alcoholic beverage.

Toritama, G/F, 2 Glenealy, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2388 7717, toritama.hk

9. TMK Punk & Rolls

Rumbling with the latest music hits, TMK is a temakeria featuring everything from quality sake to delectable sushi rolls. There are over eight different types of sake on their menu, with the aromatics and flavours of each bottle clearly listed. Choose between expressions that are crisp and citrusy; floral and full-bodied or even dry with green bananas. We recommend munching on the venues’ starters of chicken karaage and wagyu tataki to really bring out the sake's intricate flavourings.

TMK Punk & Rolls, Shops G & H, G/F and M/F, 77-91 Queens’s Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2662 2269, punk.tmk.hk

10. Fumi

Bringing you the genuine best of Japanese dining, Fumi crafts a series of outstanding omakase dinners, kaiseki meals and a la carte dishes. Alongside their culinary excellence is also a wide range of popular sake, with even a menu dedicated to premium bottles. While their sake tends towards the sweet side, there are also slightly dry choices under their Junma Ginjo and Junmai Daiginjo collection. There are even sake cocktails to enjoy if you’re feeling up to it. 

Fumi, 6/F, California Tower, 30 - 36 D'Aguilar St, Central, Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong, +852 2328 3302, fumihk.com

11. Zuicho

Michelin-starred restaurant Zuicho offers an immersive and interactive Japanese culinary experience centred around “kappo” cuisine (a multi-sensory and multi-course meal that is curated by the chef). Complimenting their exclusive menu is a premium sake list and a regular one. You’ll have a hard time choosing between the many intriguing names, including sparkling and gold label bottles. We recommend asking for some advice on which sake to pick, so as to maintain an impeccable balance between the delicate food and sake. 

Zuicho, G/F, 29 Jervois Street, The Mercer, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2156 1883, zuicho-kappo.com

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