Try a Sake...

Kanpai!

If you're new to the charms of Sake, here's the lowdown on etiquette...

If you’re drinking with someone else, it’s good manners to pour servings for others first – usually the younger person pours for the older person first. When someone’s pouring sake for you it’s polite to hold your sake cup up with one hand and to put the other hand under the cup. Have a sip before putting the cup back on the table. It’s a mandatory etiquette to make a toast in Japan. Don’t start drinking before saying cheers, or you’ll be considered rude. Kanpai!

Whether you're a Sake-aficionado or merely Sake-curious, head for one of these London venues for a tipple...




Zuma
5 Raphael Street SW7 1DL
Region: Knightsbridge
Nearest Station: Knightsbridge (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: High end, celebrity favourite Zuma has its own sake bar, with more than 40 varieties of the rice juice available. Grab at seat at the glamorous granite bar and eavesdrop on Kim K and Kanye discussing their latest Twitter strategy.

  • JAPANESE
  • 93/100
Kurobuta
109 - 125 Knightsbridge SW1X 7RJ
Region: Knightsbridge
Nearest Station: Knightsbridge

AIL Says: As well as the show-stopping food courtesy of ex-Nobu chef Scott Hallsworth, the extensive menu of sakes is well-priced, available by the bottle or the glass. The menu is all small plates, and on our visit every member of staff knew their stuff and could recommend the best sake for each dish.

  • JAPANESE
  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
Shoryu Ramen
33 Broadgate Circle EC2M 2QS
Region: The City
Nearest Station: Liverpool Street (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: It's famous for being a ramen joint, but their Liverpool Street site boasts an in-house sake sommelier, while the Soho branch has the biggest selection of sake in the UK.

  • JAPANESE
Yashin Ocean House
117 - 119 Old Brompton Rd SW7 3RN
Region: South Kensington
Nearest Station: Gloucester Road (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: They're acclaimed for their "head to tail" fish dishes, and their sake menu is so discerning that it's a good idea to take an expert pal along. However it's also a great place to start if you want to get savvy with sake, and there are helpful explanations like for the Dewazajura, recommended as the "wine drinkers sake".

  • JAPANESE
Bone Daddies
31 Peter Street W1F 0AR
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Leicester Square (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: London's rock'n'roll ramen joint has speciality sakes like a sparkling variety and a yuzu-flavoured one. It's a keenly priced, high energy, super fun kind of place.

  • JAPANESE
  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 8/10
Nobu
19 Old Park Lane W1K 1LB
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Hyde Park Corner (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Although most people go to people-watch (and to show off to their mates that they've been here), it's also worth a visit for the sake, some of which are exclusive to Nobu alone. There's a selection served in frosted jugs and bamboo cups too - which you can also show off about to your friends.

  • JAPANESE
  • USERS 10/10
Sake No Hana
23 St. James's Street SW1A 1HA
Region: St. James's
Nearest Station: Green Park (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: As it's part of the Hakkasan group you can expect the same glitzy decor and clientele (and price list). There's a huge range of sake on offer to suit all palates, including dry, sparkling and even mushroomy. Plus they run masterclasses where you'll learn about its history and how to drink it.

  • JAPANESE
  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
Tokimeite
23 Conduit Street W1S 2XS
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Oxford Circus (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Swish Tokimeite in Mayfair has chef Yoshihiro Murata at the helm, who holds an incredible seven Michelin stars across his restaurants in Japan. Here you can drop hundreds of pounds on one of their premium sakes (like a bottle of Suirakuten which costs £225), or go thrifty on a £9 glass of Tsuki no Katsura 'Iwai', which is in fact made with one of the most expensive rice varietals out there.

  • JAPANESE
Aqua Kyoto
240 Regent Street W1B 3BR
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Oxford Circus

AIL Says: For the sake-curious, Aqua Kyoto has innovative flavours like plum, mulled wine and pear. While you're here make sure you check out the rooftop terrace which looks over Regent Street.

  • RESTAURANT & BAR
  • USERS 8/10
Umu
14-16 Bruton Place W1J 6LX
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Oxford Circus (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: With two Michelin stars, Umu is definitely one for splurging. There are fruity, sweet, sparkling and dry sakes, some costing upwards of £400. There are over 100 on the list, so let the sommelier guide you.

  • JAPANESE
  • 45/100
  • OUR REVIEW 9/10


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