April’s a busy month. Why not take a page out of Japan’s book, sit beneath a sakura tree and simply enjoy the relaxing traditional of a hanami (flower viewing)? Singapore is void of the beautiful sakura trees but fret not. Japan Food Town at Wisma Atria is bringing a slice of pink heaven from the land of rising sun. Every week or so, pots of sakura blossoms are shipped in and displayed right in front of Bar Nippon. There, guests can savour a limited Sakura-inspired menu while sipping on a pink of Sakura Frozen Beer from now till 16 April 2017.
16 of its tenants will be serving up everything from sakura ebi okonomiyaki (S$18), deep fried sakura flounder (S$28) to mentaiko sakura ebi fried rice (S$10). The list also includes sakura-flavoured ice cream in the form of a parfait (S$12 a la carte, S$10 with a set at Rang Mang Shokudo).
To fully immerse myself in the hanami traditional, I went for something resembling a packed lunch; the Temari Sushi from Sabar (S$15.80 a la carte/S$18 as a set). Colourful and adorable, they are bite-sized sushi balls coming in a variety of topping – just like regular sushi. At Sabar, each features a different way to savour the ubiquitous mackerel. Seared, vinegared, with a shiso leaf and so on. Those who are fans of the fish will thoroughly enjoy this fun, inviting set.
It went down well with a pint of Sakura Frozen Beer (S$12 for half pint/S$18 for a pint) from Kirin at Bar Nippon. It comes with a refreshing frozen foam and a pickled sakura flower. Try and grab a taste of that combo of salt-and-sour from the flower as you take a sip. It elevates the floral notes of the beer. Overall, a refreshing tipple after the savory main. There is also a Sakura Highball (S$12) for those who want an extra kick (like me). It carries the usual flavor of a Suntory Kakubin Highball with an added Sakura accent, perhaps from a infused syrup or liqueur.
And, no flower viewing picnic can be complete without a pink-hued sakura dessert. Keeping with the theme, I was served the Sakura Yukimi Daifuku & Sakura Tea Set (S$11.90). More of a whipped, airy cream than ice cream, the sakura-flavoured filling was wrapped in a chewy blanked of mocha. It is presented with a dollop of red bean that was too sweet for my liking, but the slightly salty Sakura Tea saved the day. It was my first sip of Sakura tea, and it’s flavor was a milder version of the pickled sakura flower which adorned the beer earlier. Not the usual sort of flavor you’d expect from a herbal tea, but fitting. The sakura highball still has my vote for best drink of the night, though.
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