FLOW WITH THE GRAIN

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Malu Lambert ex­plores Cape Town’s sake of­fer­ings

Nobu – a restau­rant chain named af­ter its owner, celebrity chef and restau­ra­teur Nobuyuki “Nobu” Mat­suhisa, who’s known for his style of blend­ing tra­di­tional Ja­panese dishes with Peru­vian in­gre­di­ents – has 38 branches that span across five con­ti­nents. The brand’s only African venue – which opened in 2009 – is aptly set at the One&Only Cape Town ho­tel at the V&A Wa­ter­front.

It’s cer­tainly the grand­est Ja­panese joint in town; think 10-me­tre high ceil­ings with booths down both sides, tables in the cen­tre and an open kitchen at the far end. The menu is large and split into sec­tions of cold and hot, fea­tur­ing an in­ter­est­ing se­lec­tion of sushi items, an en­tire cat­e­gory de­voted to tem­pura and plenty of hot fu­sion-style dishes.

Head chef, Harold Hur­tada, has pre­pared a global Nobu sig­na­ture dish for our visit: the black-lac­quered cod den miso, which com­prises fil­lets of cod mar­i­nated in a special miso mix­ture for up to four days. He pairs it with an­other Nobu favourite, the YK35 sake, which has been brewed specif­i­cally for the restau­rant group. “The YK35 is very smooth and easy to drink, which com­ple­ments the rich flavour of the black cod,” Harold says. “Sake is great with food as it is very ver­sa­tile, light and re­fresh­ing. It en­hances flavours in­stead of over­pow­er­ing them. When it comes to pair­ing it with food, you need to look for con­trasts. The aroma, sweet­ness, dry­ness, acid­ity and tex­ture of sake are all fac­tors you have to con­sider. Hav­ing said that, the most im­por­tant el­e­ment to look out for is umami

[the fifth ba­sic taste], which makes a great dif­fer­ence when pair­ing food and sake,” Harold ex­plains.

ONE&ONLY CAPE TOWN, DOCK ROAD, V&A WA­TER­FRONT, CAPE TOWN; 021-431-5261; NOBU­RESTAU­RANTS.COM/ CAPETOWN/HOME/

PINEAP­PLE SAKE COCK­TAIL

From Nobu. Any left­over sugar syrup from the Green Tea Des­tiny cock­tail can be used in this recipe

Serves 2 EASY 15 mins

WHAT YOU NEED 80g fresh pineap­ple, cut into chunks 150ml Hokusetsu Sado No Jun­mai Sake 15ml (1 tbsp) sugar syrup hand­ful ice cubes

HOW TO DO IT

1 Place the pineap­ple chunks in a cock­tail shaker. Us­ing a mud­dler or a fork, mash the pineap­ple un­til al­most puréed. Add the sake and sugar syrup. Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake vig­or­ously for 10 sec­onds.

2 Us­ing a fine-mesh sieve as a fil­ter, strain the mix­ture into a chilled sake carafe. Serve cold.

BLACK­CUR­RANT SAKE COCK­TAIL

From Nobu. Any left­over sugar syrup from the Green Tea Des­tiny cock­tail can be used in this recipe

Serves 2 EASY 10 mins

WHAT YOU NEED

50ml fresh/frozen black­cur­rants, puréed (de­frosted, if frozen) 150ml Hokusetsu Sado No Jun­mai sake

15ml (1 tbsp) sugar syrup hand­ful ice cubes

HOW TO DO IT

1 Place all of the in­gre­di­ents in a cock­tail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake vig­or­ously for 10 sec­onds.

2 Us­ing a fine-mesh sieve as a fil­ter, strain the mix­ture into a chilled sake carafe. Serve cold.

PINEAP­PLE SAKE COCK­TAIL BLACK­CUR­RANT SAKE COCK­TAIL

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: NOBU’S HEAD BAR­TENDER, RAYHARN RAHMAN AND HEAD CHEF, HAROLD HUR­TADA

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