Since our very first visit to Mizu Restaurant in Teneriffe for our 2nd wedding anniversary, I signed up for their newsletter and oogle every mailout they've made. Especially their sake tasting series.
So when the last one they sent out was announcing an especially special sake tasting event to celebrate their 5th anniversary, it sealed the deal and we had to go.
And what made this event special, besides being their anniversary?
Mizu invited Philip Harper to Australia, especially for this one off event.
Philip is the only Westerner to ever hold the position of Master Brewer (杜氏, toji) in a Japanese sake brewery. His career in the notoriously exacting world of traditional brewing has been described as ‘miraculous’ by a specialist writer. As the creator of the Tamagawa sake range, he has become known for brewing in a kaleidoscopic range of styles, from award-winning fragrant Daiginjo to the ‘spontaneous fermentation’ series which are brewed in pre-modern fashion without using pure yeast cultures.
In the off-season, he spreads the word about sake’s pleasures, speaking regularly to industry and consumer groups in Japanese and English, in Japan and overseas. He is the author of numerous articles and two books on sake: The Insider's Guide to Sake and The Book of Sake: A Connoisseurs Guide.
We asked the SO's manager and wife to join us, as they lived in Japan and no doubt would appreciate sake as much as we did. Upon arrival, an ochoko was pressed into each of our hands, with strict instructions to hold onto them throughout the night. No guesses which of the ones above was mine. (^_~)-★
But before I go on about the sake, I must play very humble hommage the 'nibbles'. Mizu chef Chucky and his team kept the delightful food flowing and the staff (dressed in adorable yukatas) made numerous weaving rounds to keep everyone well-fed.
When we we first offered these, I had 2 doubts in my mind.
Firstly, I hadn't had dinner and lunch had been a light salad.
If cucumber slices were the only thing on the menu,
I was going to be screwed downing alcohol.
Secondly, the topping looked suspiciously like natto.
Instead it turned out to a great palate cleanser
and got my tastebuds refreshed for the tsunami of flavours to come.
The fish cake with plum sauce
I had about 3 of these. (^_^)b
These fresh sashimi slices were wrapping fresh crunchy garlic chives.
Can you blame me for grabbing one of each?
There was a similar roll made of edge-seared beef as well,
but I was too busy popping it in my mouth to take a photo. (^_^;;)
Crispy hot takopachi~ (^0^)/
Crispy teriyaki chicken
One of several types of maki rolls
And not just the mashed up seafood either.
There were beautiful fresh whole bits to be found with every bite.
Now I have to pause here...
These scallops are AMAZING!
I suspect the sauce might be a shiro miso,
but either way, they are so beautiful and burst with so much flavour.
My mouth still waters in their memory.
Fresh fish balls
Zucchini and eggplants fried tonkatsu style
He shared his experiences learning the art and the amazing qualities of sake, such as how sake has no preservatives (yay! No hangovers!) and has fruity flavours, when it's made from the unassuming rice grain. And he was answering questions throughout the evening, including what the rice sake comes from is like, and chatting with the wait staff. It's undeniable how passionate Philip is towards sake and he was a pleasure to listen to.
As part of the event, we were introduced to 5 different sakes - 2 of which were from Philip's brewery.
- Tamagawa Daiginjo (大吟醸)
- Tamagawa Junmaiginjo Omachi (純米銀吟醸 雄町) 15%
- Yamahai Kizakura
- Asabiraki Junmaiginjo
- Shiragawa Junmai (Nigorizake)
And pictured above is a nigorizake (濁り酒) - a less filtered sake that results in a much cloudier consistency. It had to the strangest sake I've tasted and I'm not sure it was something I would actively seek out.
However, the Tamagawa Daiginjo (大吟醸) is undoubtedly my favorite.
Its fragrance is - for a lack of a better word - pretty
and flavour is wonderfully smooth.
While I tried at least one cup of each sake,
I must've had at least 4-5 cups of the Tamagawa Daiginjo.
It's that good.
And the best part, upon returning our ochoko to the bar before leaving,
we were given a 300ml bottle of Tamagawa Junmaiginjo Omachi, my 2nd favorite of the evening.
For $69 a person, this had to the most enjoyable experience. You weren't limited to just 1 cup of each sake and the staff were so friendly, bringing round after round of sake for everyone to enjoy.
Congratulations and thanks to Mizu, for an amazing event!
And the best part: you don't ever wake up from a hangover with sake. \(^0^)/