Leading up to the Kampai Toronto Sake Festival this year I was invited by That’s Life, a Sake and Wine importer, to a Sake Saloon held at Cafe Bar Pasta. I had the pleasure of tasting a few of the award winning Sake’s imported by That’s Life at the Kampai Media Launch and was happy to continue expanding my sake knowledge.
Disclaimer: All drinks and dishes were provided free of charge. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.
I walked by Cafe Bar Pasta at first. After consulting Google Maps on my phone, I noticed the hanging sign with a pictogram of coffee beans, a bottle of wine and a bowl of pasta, cute idea. The red, black and white colour scheme established with the sign and bright front door continued throughout the restaurant. Exposed brick walls were painted white and decorated with large pieces of red wall art. At the front of the dining area, a collection of wine corks are displayed behind plexiglass.
Our first stop was the bar where deletable sake cocktails were being assembled. The drink was sour, sweet and one of my favourite sips of the night. That night, we were poured samples of 7 sakes produced by two breweries from the Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan. Representatives from both Tengumai and Fukumitsuya breweries along with That’s Life’s Sake Specialist, Mariko Taijiri, were on hand to answer questions and speak to the sakes. I sipped two glasses of chilled Kagatobi Gokkan Junmai and Kagatobi Ai Junmai Daiginjo. Both sakes were clear, crisp and easy to drink.. Between the two, I actually preferred the Junmai, which I found was a touch sweeter with a rich flavour. The Daiginjo was very smooth.
Servers circulated the room with bites from Chef Jay Scaife, including housemade pasta, lamb meatballs, teriyaki octopus and fried smelt. Each dish was elegantly presented in easy to grab portions. I really enjoyed the lamb meatballs, smelt and housemade pasta. All of these dishes were nice compliments to the sake with rich, savoury flavours. I had a great time at the Sake Saloon and enjoyed the preview to the food at Cafe Bar Pasta. I’m looking forward to a return trip and digging into a full plate of their housemade pasta with a beautifully crafted cocktail.