Juxtaposed amidst the modernity of our world-class financial centre, Raffles Place, is a historic quarter where commerce used to take root.
In a corner of restored shop houses, in Telok Ayer. Amongst all the drinking places where corporates seek solace, Shukuu beckons with its vibrant atmosphere.
Its walls are adorned with hand drawn paintings, of Kabuki Samurai, mythical creatures of Japan, and standing out to me are the traditional looking depictions of craftsmen making Sake; all lovingly hand drawn by the owners.
The interior consists of bright lanterns and timber, designed to whisk the visitor into an authentic Tokyo Izakaya experience.
One of the owners of Shukuu, Luis said, “This Izakaya is started by four childhood friends, lifelong friends who share a passion for all things Japanese, bringing different skills to the table.
Above all, we sought to be a touch point between Japan and Singapore!”
Expounding further on his young establishment’s raison d’être, “Shukuu derives its meaning from two kanji characters, ‘empty’ and ‘Sake’.
Almost literally meaning empty your anxiety with good sake!”
Being a multi-certified Sake sommelier, Luis talks about his strongest passion,
“The quality and preference of Sakes, like most alcohols, isn’t determined by price.
Rather individual taste, and through the right introduction, one can discover their preference.”
“The first sake I had was Kuroushi Junmai Daiginjo Kansan(黑牛純米大吟釀 環山) from Wakayama prefecture.
It carried a light shiitake aroma; elegant, umami, and with notes of sweetness.
I matched this sake with grilled beef. The savoury juices from the meat, melting and blending with this sake very well.
A versatile label due to its characteristics, I also discovered it complements Sashimi due to its clear taste.”
According to Luis, recipes in this izakaya are fine-tuned fit both local and Japanese, so he puts continuous effort on improving the taste.
Continuing on his Sake journey, Luis expounds,
“Then I had Tatsuriki Tokubetsu Junmai Kimoto Jikomi (龍力 特別純米 生もと仕込み) Upon your first sip, a light numbness greets your tongue, followed by a quick bittersweet taste burst at the end of your tongue.
And the taste and aroma becomes deeper after a period of blending with air.
This Sake can be served either hot or cold.”
“When I had it hot, sweetness stands out more.
I tried different plates with this sake, and an exceptional match was Shukuu’s homemade char siew dish.
A recipe that comprises of more than 20 spices, blended and slow cooked.
Taste is somewhere between Japanese and Chinese authentic char siew, and I believe it’s a good food cultural bridge in here.”
There are many newly opened Japanese restaurants operated locally, but I’ve never met a local owner with such a love and passion towards sake and Japanese culture.
I would like to support them for their further endeavours in bridging our two cultures together.
And lastly, It’s a lively Izakaya that will make anyone feel welcomed on their first visit!