Kabuke is a 50-seater Sake gastrobar located on the second floor of a heritage shophouse. Situated at 200A Telok Ayer Street, the entrance opens to a flight of staircases leading to a two-week-old hidden bar. The interior is spellbound with decor inspired from the classic theatrical Kabuki performances – bearing a dim deep red hue at the bar counter, the all-so-familiar stage draperies and hand-painted curtain fans that partitioned the main dining from the private lounge.
Meet Leon, the head of Kabuke with a fun and animated character, alongside Sous Chef Aaron, Head Chef Rio Neo and Sake Sommelier Keiji Heng (from left to right).
Aptly named Kabuke, the name is derived from the marriage of Kabuki and Sake. This goes hand in hand with their vision in creating a place to indulge in the art of good food and sake. Kabuke offers a range of contemporary Japanese dishes from light bites and rice bowls, to omakase and sake pairings.
During lunch time, Kabuke is opened to the business crowd, offering three of their signature Kabuke Beef Bowls: Gyudon ($15), Wagyu Suki Bowl ($18) and Wagyu Bowl ($28) with the option of Uni and Foie Gras add-ons.
For dinner, the selections are amazing with unique creations that ain’t easily found anywhere else. The entire course is divided into 3 Acts plus a Finale, resembling the sequences in watching a Kabuki performance.
Starting with the Shiso Tempura with Hotate Tartare $15, this won our hearts with the exquisite presentation and flavours of diced scallops, Ikura and caviar drizzled with truffle shoyu over crispy shiso leaf tempura. It was bite-size portion bursting with delights.
The Salmon Bruschetta $6 was served with a creamy spread over crunchy bruschetta and finished with furikake sprinkle. Tasty!
The Tuna Tataki $12 came with garlic chips and honey ponzu. It was a blend of sweet and savouriness with each bite.
These dishes were paired with the Yuki no Bosha Hiden Yamahai Junmai Ginjo. I loved the pronounced fruity notes of pineapples, peaches and apples on the nose which gave a very delicious fragrance. The drink was also smooth with moderate acidity.
We swiftly proceeded to Act 2, ‘after a short break’.
The Crispy Goma Goma Wings $12 came highly recommended with juicy meats beneath a thin layer of fats and crispy skin. Some would prefer it savoured plain but I thought the yuzu mayo wasabi was a nice touch adding a level of potency to the wings.
I have never been a fan of baby corns but Kabuke did a fusion rendition of the Baby Corn $10 with a house blend of siracha mayo, furikake and pork floss. An explosion of textures indeed.
The Takoyaki Fries $12 was superbly affordable for its generous portion of shoestring fries topped with Takoyaki dressings. You wouldn’t find a single strand of fries untouched without the gooey melted cheese, teriyaki sauce, kewpie mayo and grilled octopus. The addition of tobiko, bonito flakes, Ikura and seaweed elevated this dish beyond imaginable. We simply can’t stop munching.
We had two plates of these and scraped clean.
The second sake pairing was this Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai, with slight floral notes and a drier finishing on the palate. It was clean yet gentle on the creamy dishes.
Finally, we are reaching the climax.
Highlighting the Kabuke Wagyu Bowl $28, it was a hearty bowl laid with very tender beef striploin and onsen egg sprinkled with garlic chips and truffle shoyu. The beef had an almost melt-in-the-mouth texture while the yolk was poked to reveal a glorious golden flow over the rice. I would come back for this.
The Miso Pork $18 tended towards sweetness with strips of ginger-infused miso pork belly topped with vinaigrette-marinated pea shoots. The pork needed some jaw muscles to work on and it would be better if the sides (pea shoots) were lightly tossed in dressing to make it less sweet.
Nasu Dengaku $9 was another signature dish with oven-baked egg plant prepared two ways – spread with Sake-infused Miso and Yuzu.
The insides of the eggplants were really soft in juxtaposition to the crisp charred edges. It reminded me of eating baked potato skin slated with tomato sauce.
I was eager to have my third sake, the Nabeshima Tokubetsu Honjozo for the last act.
Its richness fared better with the meats given that the profound taste could well-balance the heavy meal.
The end was not yet goodbye as we indulged in the Kabuke Cheese Platter $25 curated by The Cheese Artisans, served with conditions and crackers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The La Tur Cheese could very well sweep you off your feet with its rich, creamy and soft consistency. It was like chewing on blue cheese ice cream.
Special Sake Pairing (3x50ml) $18 would leave you with an excuse for another round of booze.
For a cosier experience, the private lounge can accommodate up to 20 guests (with minimal spending). Besides ala carte and sake flights, Kabuke also offers Omakase at $48 for three course and $68 for four course.
Sake spending is around $8 – $28 for 90ml, $24 – $84 for 300ml and $208 – $408 for bottles.
For a sake gastrobar, Kabuke is the place where there’s attention to details, and quality of food and sake goes in tandem. Go in and experience for yourself!
200A Telok Ayer Street, Level2, Singapore 068638
Tel: +65 8822 5525
Weekdays: 1130am to 2pm
Mon to Thu: 5pm to 11pm
Fri and Sat: 5pm to 12am
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