Premium Sake Pub GASHUE
Whether you're a Japanese sake connoisseur or a novice just curious to learn the basics about the pleasures of sipping on a good glass of rice wine, Gashue is definitely a fun place to visit!
The pub is located in the vibrant and quaint Ueno area on a quiet street.
A big part of Gashue's mission is to expand Japan's sake culture. Thus, they are very welcoming to foreigners. It's an easy place to casually walk into, whether you're alone or in a group. What's more, it has a super inviting stylish interior and warm lighting.
Gashue offers over 80 kinds of sake which are conveniently grouped into four basic categories, clearly identified on the menu. Each category of sake has recommended food pairings that make the tasting experience even more interesting. The food comes in the form of two types of beautifully presented finger foods on one plate.
A glass of sake with a food pairing is ¥1000. You can also order the finger food plate and a glass of sake individually for ¥500 each. Below are some examples of pairings you could enjoy, one for each category of sake.
Aromatic Sake ["Kunshu", 薫酒]
This kind of sake called "kunshu" in Japanese (literally aromatic sake) is characterized by it's pleasant floral or fruity smell. Notice how it is served in a wide-rimmed glass to allow patrons to fully enjoy the smell. To complement this glass, there are cherry blossom-shaped cheese and "hanpen" (pounded fish cake) bites, and fresh fruit with mascarpone cheese.
Refreshing Sake ["Soshu", 爽酒]
The "soshu" is what can be translated as refreshing sake. The taste is light and fresh. One of the recommended pairings for a glass of soshu is this tofu-based plate. The bites presented in the spoons are a mix of tofu, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce, while the cubes are fried tofu topped with edamame beans and cream cheese.
Aged Sake ["Jukushu", 熟酒]
This matured sake, called "jukushu" in Japanese, is known for having a stronger, deeper, caramel-like taste. The perfect pairing for this one includes slices of kabocha (Japanese squash) with bacon, cheese, and some balsamic vinegar-based sauce as a topping. The other item on the plate consists of boiled octopus with miso and white vinegar.
The name of this sake translates as "pure" or "rich" sake, and is characterized by a taste that is more pronounced. Many kinds of sake of this category are very delicious served hot. The entree pictured here includes meatballs in a tomato sauce, and "iburi gakko" (a kind of pickled daikon radish) that is topped with cream cheese, nori seaweed and ponzu sauce.
If you'd prefer a little bit more sake without the food, you can also try some sake-only sets.
Sake Tasting Sets (3 Kinds)
The tasting sets also offer very interesting options. Have three sakes from the same category to compare their subtleties, or try three sakes from different categories for greater contrast in tastes. The prices for the sets vary based on the sake that you choose.
If you went to Gashue with an appetite, you might also want to explore the food menu as well.
Some Items On The Food Menu
Miso Stew With Sake Lees (¥700)
This rich miso stew packed with savoury umami has a secret ingredient: sake lees (residual yeast from sake production). Sake lees is a traditional ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Give this a try! The combination with the miso is delectable and needless to say, it goes wonderfully well with any sake.
With some crispy garlic chips, an "onsen tamago" (slow cooked egg with a creamy yolk), and some cheese as toppings, it's no wonder the potato salad pictured above is one of the most popular items.
Homemade Sake Ice Cream (¥400)
If you have a sweet tooth, the homemade sake ice cream is a must try. The sake taste in this milky ice cream also comes from sake lees. You can enjoy it as is, or pour a little sake on it to enhance the sake flavor. The staff will kindly provide you with some special sake to try it with. This is the perfect way to end your sake tasting experience.
Whether you live in the Ueno area or are just visiting, you should definitely give Premium Sake Pub Gashue a try! The pairing concept is super interesting and the price per set is quite reasonable.