One of the latest sake bars to hit Singapore’s drinking scene is a relatively hidden and cosy affair, located as it is on the second floor of a restored colonial-era bungalow along Scotts Road. Part of Japanese high-end dining restaurant Ki-sho (葵匠), Kakure (隠れ) – which means ‘hideout’ in Japanese – offers a well-curated range of sakes many of which can’t be found elsewhere in Singapore in a space that’s a soulful modern interpretation of a Meiji– and Taisho-era tavern.
What’s truly impressive about Kakure is that not only does it put together one of the largest sake lists you can find in Singapore with over 50 different labels from various prefectures in Japan, its also focuses on niche labels that produce small batch sake. Many of these artisanal sakes come from little-known breweries in obscure parts of Japan that are often only known to locals – they can be hard to find even within their own prefecture, let alone outside of Japan.
In some cases Ki-sho and Kakure will work closely, and even collaborate, with sake breweries for special releases. Take their house sake Tatenokawa Junmai Daiginjo, Nakadori Ki-sho Label ($438++ per bottle, above), for example. In most cases house sake tend to be the more affordable option; instead Kikure opted to make theirs a high-end version – with an astonishing polishing rate of 18% – with a price tag to match. But the Yamagata prefecture-based brewery’s junmai daiginjo is nothing short of heavenly; a truly exquisite brew expressing itself in delicate stone fruit and melon notes with a level of sweetness.
Those who prefer a more astringent and dry sake can try the Okuharima Yamahai Junmai ($105++ per bottle), while the Sukuzi Hideyoshi Akinota Junmai Ginjo ($130++ per bottle), would appeal to those who want something a little bit clean-tasting yet possessing of a long and rich finish. On the other hand, if you like a stronger alcoholic bite you could stump up for the Yucho Kaze No Mori ($170++ per bottle) from Nara prefecture, which can stand up to heavier Japanese foods such as oden or stews.
Speaking of food, Kakure offers up some fine Japanese cuisine courtesy of it being part of Ki-sho. Ki-sho chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto himself is a huge fan of sake – in fact he helped to curate the sake list at Kakure – and understands the subtleties of sake and food pairing. You can choose various Japanese bar snacks such as the likes of Anago Hone ($8++), the fried bones of the deep-sea eel, Tatami Iwashi ($8++) or cured sardines, or Ikura Cha Soba ($15++), but the better experience would be to put your culinary fate into the chef with an omakase meal with sake pairing (which start from $88++ per person without sake pairing, and can go up to $150-250++ with sake pairing).
The best part about Kakure is the fact that you’re going to have an actual kikisake-shi (certified sake sommelier) on hand to guide you on your sake-drinking journey, especially if you’re new to sake. Either kikisake-shi John or Makoto will be on site to patiently expound on the subtle nuances of each sake as you carefully sniff or taste your sake. They will also be able to guide you along your omakase meals, by explaining specific dish and sake pairings.
If you’re not a huge fan of sake, there’s also a range of rather decadent Japanese and Scotch single malt whiskies for you to peruse. But if you’re looking to broaden your sake knowledge in a cosy space with the added benefit of great Japanese fare, Kakure is hard to beat.
You can find Kakure at 29 Scotts Road.