New bar serving saké on tap opens in HKBy Alice Liang
With Saké becoming increasingly popular in Hong Kong, a new boutique bar called Saketen has opened in an intimate location in Central, offering small batch releases and saké on tap.
Boasting a sleek and stylish interior, Saketen is a friendly boutique venue for both social drinkers and saké connoisseurs occupying 400sqft with a cosy bar and standing area.
The bar was founded by experienced saké guru Elliot Faber, one of the trendsetters of saké bars in Hong Kong. Apart from Saketen, he is the beverage director of Yardbird, Ronin and Sunday’s Grocery, and co-founder of Sake Central. The Canadian certified sommelier and advanced saké professional, recognised as a ‘Saké Samurai’ by the Japan Saké Brewers Association Junior Council, he is also the author of Saké: The History, Stories and Craft of Japan’s Artisanal Breweries.
Saketen offers over 40 sakés from 10 artisan breweries changing in rotation on a periodic and seasonal basis. These range from classic establishments like Hakutsuru, one of Japan’s largest saké producers and celebrated ‘small batch’ releases to rising stars such as Nihonshu Oendan, renowned for unpasteurised, undiluted and non-charcoal filtered saké.
Other listings include private label Kikusaki, designed to showcase diversity in the sake world; Domaine Senkin celebrating terroir-driven saké; Shichiken, from a UNESCO-listed mountain site; Fukuju, named after one of Japan’s seven lucky gods; traditional saké-maker Choryo, neighbouring the ‘Omiwa Jinja’ shrine to the saké gods; Katsuyama, which aims to recreate the same sakés once made for royalty, feudal lords and samurai over 300 years ago; Takizawa, based in a famous historic ebony blackstone reserve; and Daimon, one of the few saké breweries in Osaka.
Saketen is also one of the few bars outside Japan offering saké on draft, from kegs flown direct from breweries in Japan in temperature-controlled containers.
Also on the menu are the bar’s introductory and innovative house sakés, Kajitsushu, a fruit liqueur infusing fresh fruit or concentrate with sugar and saké or shochu, enjoyed on the rocks or with soda, a bespoke draught beer programme, and a selection of premium Suntory beer plus whisky and shochu highballs.
Knowledgeable Japanese saké sommelier Yoko Isagoda and her team are stationed in the bar to provide one-on-one service to assist customers on choosing the right expression with detailed explanation.
The bar also aims to marry the ‘after work’ sundowner cultures of Italy’s aperitivo tradition and Japan’s izakaya rendezvous.
Upon ordering sake or beer between 5 and 8pm from Monday to Saturday, they are serving complimentary appetisers featuring signature sushi crackers in five flavours – tuna gravlax, bocconcini; smoked duck, moromi miso; unagi, zucchini; uni, wagyu; and ikura and avocado. Small bites include braised chicken gristle, black pepper beef jerky and walnut and date mini sando.