Food and Drink


For Goodness Sake

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I get wine. Chardonnay is in again. Temperanillo is Spanish, easy. Sake, not so much. Hot un-milky beverages freak me out.

So a last minute invitation to the sake degustation dinner at Taxi Dining Room has me feeling a little out of my comfort zone.

In order to look like I know what I’m talking about when I get there I google furiously and promptly confuse myself even more. Does one serve Junmai-shu hot or cold? Do we save that bottle of Tokutei meishō-shu for a special occasion… or was that the Futsū-shu? I always get those two mixed up.

I give up and head to Taxi. On arrival, ‘Sake Sommellier’ Ollie Wang guides my group and our shaking virginal hands through an introductory glass of inoffensive looking clear wine-ish looking liquid. It’s even in a wine glass. He talks about flavour profiles, we nod. Thank God for absurdly specialist career paths.

Feeling moderately less terrified, we’re seated and taken through a selection of chef Tony Twitchett’s neo-Asian cuisine, a hand picked sake served with each.

We start with local snapper sashimi topped with shards of spicy ginger then a rather spectacular tuna tartare laced with wasabi, truffle and coffee. Some sakes serve to highlight particularly shy ingredients in the dishes, some triumphantly cut through heavy flavours or fishy fats. The sake virgin in me grows more promiscuous, begins to swirl my glass confidently and nod convincingly.

Several courses and matching sakes later though they’re beginning to blur into one again. Dangerous territory, time to move. After a night of sake cherry popping, we leave feeling a little more confident and altogether less nervous about this foreign new wine list infiltrating even the lesser Japanese restaurants among us. We also left a little heavier, always a sign of a good night.

While the Sake degustation was a one-off event, I plan to head back for a more casual experience at Tastes of Taxi — small dishes from the kitchen matched to drinks selected by the expert bar staff, coming soon. In the meantime an extensive sake selection is available day and night.

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