Paper lanterns and noren usher you into a dingy-in-a-good-way izakaya that feels like it’s straight out of a Tokyo back alley. Yes, the owners of ShuKuu are freshening up the post-work drinking scene of our CBD with a slice of life from the Japanese capital – but rather than pints of Asahi, sake’s the order of the day.
Don’t bother with the menu. It changes so frequently that, as head sommelier Luis Liu says, it might not even be updated – ask for recommendations instead. As Liu points out, there are over 3,000 sake breweries in Japan. So rather than limiting ShuKuu’s selection to regions or types of sake, he looks to trends in Japan to bring in new sakes to suit the food, occasion and mood. But at any given time, ShuKuu carries about 50 labels with three expressions sold by the glass ($7-$10) and the others by the bottle ($108-$258).
ShuKuu is also serious about educating customers about the culture and history of sake. Monthly sake classes ($60), called ‘Tasting 1,200 years of Japanese sake’, offer sake enthusiasts a tasting set of six premium sakes handpicked by Liu and expertly paired with the izakaya’s dishes.
Sake recommendations are dependent on the food ordered: Sakemire Jumai Ginjyo ($108) is paired with sashimi, Noguchi Honjozo Nama ($108) with char-grilled dishes and Tenzan Jizake Jumai ($138) with fried snacks. All sakes are on 15 percent discount ’til end of the year.