United Ramen and Sake Dinner

gyoza united ramenUnited Ramen logo

Another first for British Sake Association members

The first event of the year was a successful Sake and Ramen Dinner, held at the end of January, at the recently-opened United Ramen in Islington. The weather didn’t disappoint: it was a distinctly chilly and wintery night – perfect for bowls of warming ramen noodles.

Once again BSA members and their guests were able to enjoy some innovative sake and food pairings and learn more about different sakes and how they taste, all in the enjoyable company of fellow sake enthusiasts – and, as usual, priced competitively.

The sakes were introduced and presented by Asami Tasaka from World Sake who did a sterling job whilst struggling with a lost voice and recovering from a sore throat. Her most important work though had already been done beforehand – choosing the sakes and pairing them with the food. And this she did magnificently.

Aaron Resch from United Ramen laid on a generous feast, and willingly catered for the vegetarians amongst us. We started with spiced edamame, which was paired with Dewazakura’s Oka Ginjo, sometimes seen as the signature sake of World Sake, which was served chilled. Next came delicious light and tasty handmade pork gyoza: these were described by Giles Coren as gyoza to ‘make your day’, and indeed they were, especially when paired with Kamoizumi Shusen- a junmai sake served at room temperature.

The generous and uber-tasty Asian BBQ pork ribs (modestly described as a ‘side dish’) were then served alongside Sentoku Bessen, a remarkable futsushu from Gunma prefecture.

The main course – a huge bowl of ramen – was paired with the Shusen again. But this time served warm, which seemed to really bring out the woodsy, mushroomy aromas of this junmai from Hiroshima. It’s always fascinating to taste the same sake at different temperatures (and of course alongside different foods too). Something you can try at home.

Finally we were treated to a sumptuous dessert of two mochi ice creams, with fillings of yuzu, and mango. Delicious on their own, the flavours were only enhanced by the Kamoizumu komekome ‘Happy Bride’; – a low alcohol and mildy sweet sake, rich in amino acids and described as Riesling-like, again from Hiroshima.

After short words of thanks we all left vowing to come back for more ramen, and to avail ourselves of February’s Two for One offer. http://www.unitedramen.com

Save The Date: our next event, in time for Easter and, for those in the know, for White Day, will be A Sake and Chocolate Pairing

Led by Oliver Hilton Johnson of Tengu Sake and Chocolatier Chika Watanabe

Monday 9th March at Tombo. Details to follow



(Photos used with thanks – all rights reserved – United Ramen, UnitedRamen.com)

Learn the Basics with Ozeki – event review

ozeki one cup 50 yrs

Special commemorative coaster!

This year marks fifty years since Ozeki launched its famous ‘One Cup’, back in 1964.  To mark this historic occasion Ozeki sponsored a tasting with The British Sake Association in London on 17th November. Held at the newly-refurbished Tombo Café and Deli in South Kensington, the event was oversubscribed, with 30 attendees.

Some attendees were fairly new to sake, and others more familiar; but even the regulars members, who have been to events before, found it very useful to have a re-cap on the main categories.

Presented by Sarah Wedgbury from JFC guests were treated to a taste of eight different sake, under the heading ‘Learn The Basics’ .

Tasting began with a low alcohol sparkling sake, and moved on to a daiginjo,  junmai, tokubetsu junmai, honjozo and of course One Cup, a futsu shu, before finishing with a taruzake.

Tombo’s kitchen prepared generous and delicious otsumame: guided by advice from Sarah each dish was prepared to match the sake.  However, the last sake, the taruzake, was daringly matched with chocolate – filled with a divine matcha-flavoured ganache – and made by the talented London-based chocolatier Chika Watanabe. www.chikawatanabe.com

Future Events

Future events in the pipeline include: In January at United Ramen in IslngtonWarm Sake and Hot Ramen – perfect for warming you up in the chilly days after Christmas; then in February, in time for Valentines Day, Chocolate and Sparkling Sake. Details to follow.

 The Association is always happy to hear from breweries or importers who would like to sponsor an event – our aim is to educate the consumer, with as wide a range of tastes as possible.  

 Shirley Booth – President, British Sake Association

East Meets West…An Exclusive Evening of Japanese Culture and Sake

In Dorset?  Then this event’s for you…

We’re delighted to announce the first Hive Beach Company event in partnership with the British Sake Association where we will host the Yasumoto family, from the Hakugakusen Brewery, who will present a selection of their premium sakes.

Explaining the sakes will be Sake Sommelier Ms Hitomi Kimura, from Japan and Shirley Booth; President of the British Sake Association.

A taster menu of Japanese-inspired food, specially prepared by Watch House Chef Steve Bant to match the sakes, will be served to accompany the tastings. You’ll be able to watch Steve demonstrating the dishes before each course so expect the evening to be interactive and fun!

Shirley booth

Shirley Booth

Shirley Booth lives here in West Dorset and has a wealth of knowledge and passion for this national drink of Japan, so a great opportunity to find out more about this intriguing drink.

This promises to be a very special evening, with the Sake brewers and Sommelier coming over from Japan for this event. But places are very limited so early booking is essential!

We hope that you will join us and look forward to welcoming you to this unique evening!


Date:     Friday 19th September 2014

Venue:  Watch House Café – West Bay West Bay, Bridport, Dorset DT6 4EN (plenty of parking nearby)

Time:    6.45pm for 7pm – 8.30pm

Cost:     £35 per person

Booking essential!

To book: email events@hivebeachcafe.co.uk stating the number of places and names of attendees. You will then receive a payment request via email. Or telephone Caz Richards – 01308 459490.

Event – An Exclusive Evening of Japanese Culture and Sake from Fukui 17/09/14

UK debut of Hakugakusen Award-winning sakes

Hakugakusen logo

We are delighted to announce the first UK visit of the Yasumoto family, including Master Brewer Takeshi Yasumoto, from Hakugakusen Brewery, who will present an exclusive selection of their Premium sakes, aided by SSI-certified  Sake Sommelier Ms Hitomi Kimura.

This a special preview for British Sake Association members and guests, of sakes which have never been available here before. *

 A selection of Japanese food, prepared especially by our hosts to match the sakes, will be served.

In addition the evening will include a presentation of exclusive sake ceramics by Ms Kazuko Sashita from Tokyo’s Space Q Gallery; Ms Kazue Shinohara will demonstrate Japanese Calligraphy and Ms Fumiko Kikuchi, Origami, with originals for you to take home as gifts.

All are coming over from Japan just for this event. This promises to be a very special evening, but places are limited so book early.

*soon to be retailing here in the UK, available through JFC


Date:     Wednesday 17th September 2014
Venue:  Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD. Tel: 020 7388 4539

Time:    6.45- 8.30pm

Cost:     £25 members / £30 non-members.  All Welcome.


To book email events@britishsakeassociation.org, stating the number of tickets, the names of attendees and whether a member of not.  You will then receive a payment request via email.