At Nikkei, Forget What You Know About Food And Wine Pairings
Nikkei, the country’s first Japanese-Peruvian sushi bar and restaurant, unleashed its new “Then & Now” tasting menu and brunch cocktails together with Wine Warehouse. The minimalist interiors of Nikkei’s Rockwell branch contrasted delightfully with vibrant stories told by each plate.
Wine sommelier Daniel Blais facilitated the food and wine pairing. Often asked about what’s the best way to pair food and wine, he states, “Don’t worry about it. Just drink what you like and eat what you like.” He also mentioned that even if certain food and wine supposedly pair well together, if you don’t like it, then it won’t matter. As the food and wine conventions went out the window, food started coming to the table.
Peruvian bites + Austrian white
Nikkei surprised guests with spoons of Truffle Potato Cream with Smoked Salmon and micro greens. Though small in size, the dish was huge on flavor. As guests sank their teeth into the dish. Daniel introduced the Laurenz V Singing Gruner Veltliner, an easygoing wine from Austria that paired well with a trio of small bites.
Truffle Potato Cream With Smoked Salmon and Micro Greens
First up was the Tiradito, a spicy Peruvian dish made with white snapper, topped with cilantro, dried red chili, sweet glazed potatoes, lime juice, and creamy rocoto sauce.
Then came a Tuna Latke composed of crunchy potato pancakes, seared tuna, huancaina sauce, cilantro, and greens. Huancaina sauce is a Peruvian seasoning made of yellow bell peppers, lemon, and sesame oil.
Following up the Tuna Latke was the Causa—a tangy and slightly spicy octopus confit with bite size mashed potatoes, guacamole, panka, with miso sauce and chives. It came with a choice of toppings: Wagyu beef, salmon, fish, ebi, or octopus.
Sushi & Sauvignon
Before serving up the sushi, Daniel talked about the Pascal Jolivet Attitude Sauvignon Blanc from France, a very acidic and refreshing white wine. The sushi platter consisted of Nikkei’s own riffs on salmon, shrimp, and white fish sushi.
Red or white? Mix it up
Daniel introduced two wines that paired exquisitely with the three main courses that were finding their way to the table. The first was the 6eme Sens Blanc, a crisp white wine from France, and the second was a Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir, a red wine that hails from New Zealand. He urged the diners to mix them up and find their preferred combinations with the food, which everyone did with gusto.
First off was the Fideo Saltado, a creamy dish composed of shrimp, snapper, squid, pork belly, vegetables, and egg yolk. A Peruvian take on chow mien.
A classic bestseller on the menu for the past three years was presented right after—a smoky Seared Tuna with Sea Urchin Risotto served al dente.
Rounding out the main courses was the Carilleras, delightfully braised pork cheeks on top of a bed of truffle potato cream with some micro greens and spices.
Seared Tuna with Sea Urchin Risotto
Before calling it a night, Nikkei then served Picarones—sweet potato and pumpkin fried dough with maple syrup and a scoop of a very unique ice cream flavor, sesame.
Sesame ice cream and maple syrup
Sweet potato and pumpkin fried dough
Nikkei’s “Then & Now” menu proves that even small dishes can punch above their weights when it comes to flavor, and that there are no strict rules when it comes to pairing wine and food. It all just depends on your palate. At its essence, this feast gave diners the core essence of Nikkei: unlikely yet delectable pairings that ignore conventions. Is it truly Japanese? Is it really Peruvian? All we know is the food is delicious, and we hope these items find their way into Nikkei’s regular menu!
Nikkei is located at 71 Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City. For reservations, call (0916) 636 9817. The featured wines are available at www.winedepot.ph