Âpé is combining the best of both worlds with our new degustation menu.
Two exquisite eleven- course pairing menus have been developed by Namba Group managers and head chef Nicolas in the hopes of offering a wider selection of Japanese sakes and access to unique dishes above and beyond any other Japanese restaurant in New South Wales.
Tasting Menu & Chef Selection
The first Tasting menu, at $95pp (plus $55pp for beverage pairings) offers a gorgeous selection of meats, vegetables and beverages.
Additionally, those looking to treat themselves to an even more unique culinary experience can opt for the Chef’s Selection menu which, at $165 pp (plus $88 for pairings) offers a wider variety of Japanese sakes, plus the highest quality meat in Newcastle.
When asked what makes sake pair so well with the dishes on Âpé’s new menu, manager Yohei Namba said he used the idea of pairings as an opportunity to “force the people of Newcastle to try it.”
“There’s not a lot of people offering or trying sake in Newcastle, so we want people to see it on the menu and think, let’s try it!”
“I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised and it’s definitely going to wow some people,” Namba said.
More Than Just a Wine Pairing
He also said he will often personally recommend sake to customers if they’re looking for something to pair with their food, and he hopes the dego menu will allow it to reach a wider audience.
When asked why sake is so frequently paired with dishes on the menu, Yohei noted it’s umami flavour and often subtle sweetness.
He believes the combination of these two elements means you can pair it with some things you can’t pair with wine. He said, in fact, it often does a better job.
“There’s a lot more to pairing than just wine.”
Âpé’s new menu also includes Japanese sochu, which Yohei likens more so to a whiskey.
When asked about his favourite pairings on the list, Yohei said he couldn’t go past the Kagoshima A5 Wagyu.
He said it’s a rare occurrence to taste such high-quality beef as it is, but its unique pairing on chef Nic’s menu takes it to another level.
“It’s paired with a Pinot Noir,” he said. “It’s so unique because normally when you think of fatty beef, you think to pair it with a big, full Shiraz or Cabernet.
Actually, the wagyu fat is much more delicate than the grizzly fat we’re used to in Aussie beef, so the subtle acidity of the Pinot goes really well.”
“That was definitely an eye-opener for me,” he said.
Great Sake, Great Food
He also loves the Burraganyatti Duck Breast. Namba said he couldn’t now think of a better pairing than the Hiraizumi Maruhi No 77 sake chosen for this dish.
“It’s a really unique double sake,” he said. “It’s sweet and has citrus notes which make it akin to wine. As soon as I tasted it, I thought that pairing was great.”
“It has great sake and great food, you can’t get much better than that.” Yohei said.