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Old 12th November 2017, 04:33 PM   #1
yflyer
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Default Singapore Dining - BAM! Restaurant - Spanish/Japanese Dishes with Sake Pairing

I had a very interesting and enjoyable dinner at BAM! Restaurant at Tras Street earlier this month.



The food here is innovative/modern, with inspiration from Spanish and Japanese cuisine. Chef Pepe Moncayo is Spanish, but his travels to Japan have inspired him to create very interesting dishes, as well as undertake a very serious exploration of pairing different kinds of sake with food.



The bar counter is a great spot to dine while watching the team prepare the food.



The dinner menu is an omakase menu (Essentially, you are at Pepe's mercy...), and if you are dining here, you would definitely want the sake pairing as well, since this is what the restaurant is about.



Apart from the dinner menu, there is a set lunch for $40, and a selection of a-la carte tapas.

Sake aside (There is a whole cellar of sake to choose from), there is also a decent wine list, with quite an emphasis on Spanish wines.

Last edited by yflyer; 14th November 2017 at 04:20 AM..
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Old 12th November 2017, 04:43 PM   #2
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Our party of 3, which included Mrs yflyer and a good friend, went for the 6 course menu...

We began with Spanish Cava, compliments of the house...



...and two amuse bouches, the first being pineapple gazpacho...



...and a tempura shiso leaf...



The tempura was a good example of the blend of Japanese and Spanish that was to come...freshly cooked tempura as satisfying as any, but stuffed with a piquant tomato-tartar filling that we had never experienced in a Japanese tempura restaurant.

Last edited by yflyer; 12th November 2017 at 10:51 PM..
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Old 12th November 2017, 04:54 PM   #3
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What followed was 6 dishes paired with 6 different sakes...

I am almost completely clueless about sake (Mrs yflyer has done a lot more research, both theoretical and practical...)...



In a glass, sake is essentially clear liquid (So I'll dispense with the photos of each glass...)...



...but as we drank each of them in succession, even outright beginners and amateurs (i.e. me) could taste the differences in flavours, balance, intensity and aroma of each one. This was a very nice change from your typical dinner with wine pairing, having sake to complement each dish.

The concept of western-style (Or at least partly western) dishes paired with sake is not new. There are other places that do this as well (Mrs yflyer and I had a memorable dinner in Hobart, Tasmania, at Garagistes,which also did a sake pairing.) However in Singapore, this is still quite a novel dining experience, and I have to say, it is a great adventure.

The sakes here were served in Western-style wine glasses, which worked well in allowing us to discern the aromas in the sake. The range of sakes served were impressively varied, and they including ginjo and daiginjo sakes, as well as a special sake bottled for BAM! restaurant. The alcohol percentage is sake is 17-20%, not particularly high, but by the 3rd or 4th glass, things at our table had turned decidely cheerful and boistrous...
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Old 12th November 2017, 05:22 PM   #4
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First course, chilled somen...



And then a very elegant, balanced sake...



...to go with the uni (sea urchin) and ama ebi (sweet prawn), an inspired and very delicious dish...



The next sake was an exclusive bottling for BAM!, Minanogawa (男女川) junmai ginjo, from Ibaraki prefecture, a hand-pressed, unfiltered sake.



This was paired with Chilean sea bass in a creamy sauce, with tiny Japanese sea grapes as garnish.



And next, sake in a distinctive light blue bottle...





...served with a course of Spanish sea cucumber intestines with congee.



An amazing dish. This wasn't the typical sea cucumber you get in Chinese restaurants here, but the Spanish/Catalan espardenyes de mar. I never even knew sea cucumbers had intestines! I am not a fan of sea cucumber in general, but this dish was absolutely delicious!

Last edited by yflyer; 12th November 2017 at 10:14 PM..
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Old 12th November 2017, 05:38 PM   #5
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The next sake was another Inaba Shuzo Minanogawa, but this time a junmai daiginjo...



...which we had with foie gras dumplings in broth...



And then Masumi Karakuchi Gold daiginjo sake...



...to accompany soft, tender, pork jowl...

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Old 12th November 2017, 10:29 PM   #6
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After that, it was dessert, accompanied by umeshu plum sake on ice...



This had good plum flavour, and wasn't as sweet as some other umeshu's we had tried before, which to me was a positive thing.

The first dessert was a granita with jelly...a bracing palate cleanser...



...which was followed by apricot vanilla sorbet, with white chocolate and almond tart.



The meal rounded off with petit fours...

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Old 12th November 2017, 10:43 PM   #7
yflyer
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A superb dinner. The cuisine was imaginative, refined and well executed, with both Western and Eastern elements harmoniously combined, without ever tasting gimmicky or contrived -- something not easy to accomplish!

The sake pairings were great at highlighting quite subtle, yet striking, differences between different sake's, something that isn't so apparent if you drink sake the typical way at a Japanese restaurant, where you typically finish a bottle among your party before choosing the next one. And of of course, I can't think of any meal that would not be enhanced by 6 different sakes over the course of an evening...

Portion-wise, I thought 6 courses was a reasonable sized dinner, although folks with bigger appetites could easily manage the 8 course omakase. If you are hungry and/or keen to go on a food and sake adventure, go for the 8 course!

A place I would recommend for anyone who enjoys either Japanese food or Spanish food (Ideally both...), not to mention anyone who is interested in sampling different kinds of sake in a non-traditional setting, as well as oenophiles who want a different sort of experience from typical wine-tasting/pairing dinners.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by yflyer; 12th November 2017 at 10:55 PM..
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