A.ryo had heard good things about ShuRaku Sake Bar from a coworker, and knowing my expertise in
sake alcohol in general, he invited me to try this place with him. Something different than our usual wine’ing with fine dines.
Situated on the Granville strip, it had a nice modern feel. With the essential sushi bar and bottles lined up along the bar and shelving, it gave off a type of Miku or Hapa Izakaya feel; traditional Japanese cuisine with a contemporary fusion take.
Big Eye Tuna Sashimi
Or better known as: Blue Fin Red Tuna, Akami or Ahi Tuna. One order consisted of 5 pieces, delicately sliced. It was fresh and very flavourful, props to serving freshly grated wasabi, though not freshly grated in-house. Unfortunately, a few pieces that we got had too many tendons, least I think that’s what they’re referred to as. It made the piece very hard to chew, but that’s expected, given the nature of the fish.
Mixed Seaweed Salad; 2 types of marinated seaweed salad on a bed of fresh greens. served with sesame ponzu dressing
The two seaweeds in this salad was the usual green imitation seaweed served at Japanese restaurants when you order a ‘seaweed salad’, the second is the purple kelp-like seaweed usually used as garnishes for sashimi. The purple one has more bite but more fishy in flavour. Green had the usual mushy-slimy texture with a hint of sesame oil. The dressing and salad itself I could care less about, it was your regular pack of mixed greens, with a very light – almost nonexistent, dressing.
菊正宗 Kiku Masamune – taru
After the salad, our sake was brought over. I apologize for the blurry picture, as I didn’t realize my camera was not focused at the time this was taken. At first I wanted to order the Niwa No Uguisu – junmai ginjo, but they were “sold out”. I then went to my second choice, Masamune, half expecting it to be the same as the one I’ve previously had at Guu Garden. However, the bottle packaging was different due to the fact that I chose the 720ml this time. The flavours were still the same as the 300ml, if I remembered correctly, since I’ve found that at times there would be some discrepancies with the exact same sake when it’s packaged in different sizes. It was a light and easy drinker, we easily finished two bottles throughout the dinner.
Grilled Eggplant; served with Bonito flakes. green onion & grated ginger
When A.ryo saw this on the fresh sheet, he just had to order it. Little did he know, I do not like eggplant. I did manage to take a small tester bite, about a teaspoon, before I gave it all to A.ryo to finish off. My review would be biased, it had had a mush texture, not much for taste because the smokey Bonito did a good job in masking it. Thank God. A.ryo enjoyed, adding a few drops of soy sauce and a dab of grated ginger with every bite. He had expected it to be a Japanese eggplant, which is much more sweeter and juicier compared to its Western counterpart. A.ryo promised to let me try one of his Japanese eggplant that he will be growing later this year, promising it would change my outlook about eggplants. I doubt it, but I’ll hold him up to the challenge.
Karaage Nanban; succulent chicken thigh, deep fried & drizzled with sweet & sour nanban sauce
The chicken had a good batter, being crisp yet not too oily, it kept the chicken tender and moist. Then again it is chicken thigh. Aside from that, this dish was disappointing with the ‘nanban sauce’ being reminiscent of the Thai sweet chili chicken sauce.
Caprese Popper; deep fried bocconcini cheese & cherry tomato with fresh basil
A different take of the Italian Caprese Salad, it sounded interesting on paper, but didn’t translate that well in the actual product. Don’t get me wrong, everything and anything is good deep fried, the cheese and tomato were nice with the same crispy batter as the chicken. However, the dish felt dry and lacking, if there were some type of balsamic reduction drizzled atop, or on the side as a dipping sauce, that would have been the missing factor to tie this whole dish together finalizing the image of a true Caprese Salad.
Black Cod; sweet miso & sake marinated grilled black cod AKA gindara
We ordered this dish from their specials to help us finish the last little bit of our second bottle. It was pretty good price for the size that we got. The cod was marinated nicely, grilled just right, it was silky and melted in my mouth like butter. A perfect ending to our night.
As a final note, the staff and ambiance was pleasant, with the food being a hit or minor miss so I wouldn’t say it was a total let down. They do have a pretty good list of sake from different grades, and a small detailed description of the flavour profiles. I would like to come back for a sake tasting, as they do serve all of their sakes by glass, that way you wouldn’t need to invest in a whole bottle. However, that begs the question, how long would they keep the bottle opened for? As sake does tend to turn bad due to oxidation like wine.