The Japanese version of Pen Online features a story on a joint venture in Paris between sake label Dassai and chef Joël Robuchon.
Junko Kubodera reports that the two have opened a tea room/bar/restaurant/shop on the rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the eight arrondissement to celebrate the delicious pairing of Japanese sake and French cuisine.
The popularity of sake is slowly rising all over the world, and particularly among Parisians. Revered French chef Joël Robuchon is well versed in Japanese food culture and in love with sake himself. Hoping to introduce it to a new audience, he lists sake in his Michelin-starred restaurants around the world and has now opened a joint venture with Dassai where visitors can enjoy their sake and his cooking.
The shop/restaurant has three floors, with a patisserie on the ground floor (with chocolates, macaroons and baked goods) followed by a bar and tea salon on the first and restaurant on the second. The ground and first floors had a successful opening in April 2018, with around 200 visitors in a day. The bar serves light snacks with sake in champagne flutes or wine glasses to release its aroma. The restaurant opened in June 2018, with a menu featuring a fusion of Japanese and French cooking paired with Dassai sake.
Hiroshi Sakurai, who took over Asahi Shuzō in 1984, risked everything in making Dassai from only Yamada Nishiki rice milled beyond the 50% required for daiginjō classification. He kept pushing the envelope, and milling the rice, until their 23% daiginjō brought them an explosive increase in sales. They created an opportunity in the 1990s when sake production volumes were falling all over the country. Sakurai says his intention with Dassai was to dump sake's traditional image and turn it into a gastronomic experience, bringing new flavours to those who pursue them in the same way as fine burgundy wines.
Robuchon comments that Dassai have brewed the most delicate of drinks from water, and that is something that will delight drinkers in any country.