A casual and cosy restaurant along Brick Lane, Shoreditch, 3AKE sushi and sake bar plates up Japanese fusion cuisine. The Residents speaks to General Manager Michel Bezir about the wonderful combo of sushi and sake…
How did the idea for the restaurant come about?
The best city deserves the best sushi, and we wanted to use our expertise in sushi, sake and the restaurant business, as well as our understanding of European-influenced Japanese food to make a brand that would shine in London.
Where does chef Gustavo Vandsbergs’ interest and expertise in sake and sushi come from?
Gustavo comes from Brazil which has the biggest Japanese community outside Japan. The influence Japanese culture – along with many others including African, Italian and Portuguese – has on Brazilian culture is huge. And Gustavo is a product of this melting-pot culture.
Since his youth, Gustavo has shown interest in eastern culinary habits and most of his inner social circle has been made up of people with Japanese heritage as well.
Being very familiar with the tastes of traditional Japanese dishes, it was natural for Gustavo to build on this with his own cooking style to create elevated Japanese fusion cuisine which he describes as bringing Japanese dishes to western tastes, with a very colorful, Mediterranean twist – it’s a multicultural experience.
In regards to bringing sake into the mix, it was just a matter of time to find someone passionate about sake like Alex Zhao – the business’s visionary – who opened up a new world beyond the kitchen, making 3AKE unique.
What makes a good piece of sushi and which types are popular at the restaurant?
First of all, good ingredients. The rice shouldn’t be overcooked, it should be soft but whole. You could see the moisture on the rice and fish, they shouldn’t be dry – dryness is a sign of pre-made sushi.
At 3AKE, makis are the best sellers. They work well as sharing dishes – perfect for a sake bar!
Why do sake and sushi go so well together?
It’s all made from rice. When thinking about pairing drinks with Japanese food, of course the first thing you’re going to think about is Japanese sake – it has the same origin and it’s made with the same ingredients. They’re perfectly balanced – both have a rich umami taste which will create a double effect in your mouth.
Nowadays, Japanese breweries want to expand into the sake market to reach younger generations and international markets, therefore sake is getting more complex and there’s a lot of different styles to suit everyone’s palates and to pair with every dish.
What makes a good sake?
Sake has more than 2000 years of history, but it has been improved and evolved over time, especially in the last decades. There is a host of different varieties including sparkling, cloudy, unpasteurised and aged – I’m sure you will find the perfect tipple for your taste-buds.
To check quality, look at the rice polished ratio (that’s how much rice is left after being milled). The lower the percentage, the better the sake.
Honjozo and junmai are more traditional sakes with a maximum 70 per cent rice polished ratio. It can be served at any temperature – chilled, room temperature or warm.
Ginjo and Daiginjo are premium sakes, and a more modern style that has a rice polished ratio of 60 per cent for Ginjo and 50 per cent for Daiginjo. These also come with a lot of fruity, floral and complex aromas and is served either chilled or at room temperature.
Another thing to consider is the fresher the sake is, the better the taste will be.
What is 3AKE’s signature cocktail?
At 3AKE, we want to incorporate the idea of fusion to everything we do, not just our food. Our cocktails are also created with fusion in mind.
Some of our cocktails are have sake as a base and flavoured with Japanese ingredients, and are unique to 3AKE.
For a refreshing, crisp drop the Mio Passion is made with tequila, Aperol, ginger syrup, passion fruit and sparkling sake.
For a cocktail with depth, warmth and umami notes, you won’t regret trying the miso or mighty old fashioned.
What’s the private chef experience?
The idea is to create something more than just private dining – to let people have their own dinner party without stepping out of their front door.
We will bring a chef and a waiter, even a barman to your home, and prepare a bespoke menu while we entertain your guests by the chef’s amazing sushi skills and knowledge.
Do you have any festive events in the calendar?
We are working on a sake master class December 15 at 5pm, 20 tickets will be available, this includes three different sake and sushi nibbles for £50. More information on this will be on our social media.
We also have a festive menus currently available for either £25 or £39 per person, for parties up to 10 people. These include a ken sake shot, a maki selection as well as some nibbles and small bites to share.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday 5pm-11pm; Saturday 12pm to 11pm
Address: 204 Brick Lane, E1 6SA