Compared to the hip Telok Ayer and Robertson Quay enclaves, the Concourse Skyline condominium along Beach Road isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind when we’re thinking of where to go for sake, or even post-work drinks. So we were surprised to hear that the property houses Big Sake Bar, a hole-in-the-wall, izakaya-style joint, on its first floor. For those who don’t work in the area, the cosy sake bar may be a pretty under-the-radar spot.
But we’re pretty sure its quiet, understated status won’t be for long. The homegrown establishment has gained a steady stream of regulars despite having only been in operation for a year, and has been attracting sake aficionados with its 28-strong range of sakes the likes of Dassai 23 and Kubota Manju.
And its latest development — the introduction of a new omakase menu — may well draw the foodie crowd as well. The eight-course omakase set includes fresh sashimi and two A4 wagyu beef dishes, and diners can opt to pair it with a carafe of sake — which we highly recommend, for maximum enjoyment.
Big Sake Bar offers three options for the sake-pairing: Toyo Bijin (Asian Beauty), a clean-tasting and slightly sweet junmai daiginjyo; Nabeshima “Pink Label”, a sweet and effervescent tokubetsu honjozo; and Masumi Karakuchi Ki-ippon, a dry junmai ginjyo. Diners get to sample all three before deciding which one they’d like to have throughout their meal. Our pick was the Toyo Bijin, which we found easy to drink and match with our various dishes.
The omakase set begins with an appetiser of century egg tofu, a light and delectable combination of plain beancurd topped with pieces of chopped up egg and crispy tempura bits. It’s a no-frills dish, but we liked how the crunchy tempura added a delightful textural contrast to the silky smooth tofu and egg.
Next up was a platter of sashimi such as aburi salmon, botan shrimp and swordfish — all thickly sliced, fresh and juicy. We couldn’t help but yearn for more. This was followed by our favourite dish, a wagyu beef sirloin cut up into thin, melt-in-the-mouth slivers. Every piece was buttery smooth and well-marbled, and tasted delicious even when savoured without the accompanying ponzu sauce.
We were also served a wagyu beef handroll and a sushi platter comprising ikura pearls, yuzu tobiko sushi, tamago, and a crunchy, fried prawn head sitting on a dollop of creamy mentaiko sauce. Everything was tasty and well-executed, but it was the negitoro don that really stole the show with its soft, generous chunks of otoro layered over rice. It was presented with a raw quail’s egg, meant to be mixed into the rice to prevent it from getting dry, and sprinkled with spring onions.
We rounded off the meal with a comforting bowl of miso soup with sweet asari clams, and a refreshing dessert of Japan-imported yuzu ice cream.
Big Sake Bar’s omakase menu is available for dinner from Mondays to Saturdays, up till 31 December. As it’s served at the bar’s sushi counter, only six guests can enjoy it at one time, so we recommend making reservations in advance. The meal will set you back S$88 or S$108 (with sake pairing), which we find rather reasonably priced, taking into account that there are eight courses, with wagyu beef included. Treat yourself and go for the sake option — you won’t regret it.