Amsterdam through British eyes

Sake & Co


The rain was hammering down on the pavement as Michiel and I took refuge in a dimly-lit bar in Amsterdam. It was a sticky, muggy heat outside, and the bar came as a welcome relief from the storm that was playing out in front of us. 

Though the bar was busy, there were still seats, and as I looked around to take it all in, I noticed that they had a big screen showing a Victoria’s Secret fashion show with the sound turned down and somehow the models managed to make it look like they were walking and dancing to the songs that were playing in the bar, which was very surreal.

We were passed a menu, but I already knew what I was going to order without even looking at it. We were in a sake bar. I wanted to try a warm sake (which is traditionally how it used to be drunk) so I ordered an Ozeki Junmai Sake, which was the only one on the menu that stated it was warm.

When the waitress came, she was holding a small tray with two steaming containers (which are called tokkuri’s) and two small cups. We poured the steaming sake into our cups, and waited for it to cool down just a bit before taking a sip. The first thing that hit me was how much it reminded me of mulled wine, but maybe that was just because it was warm and alcoholic.

The next thing I noticed was how strong the flavour was, and it slowly dawned on me that I wasn’t really enjoying it – I only really liked the initial taste, and then it became too overpowering for me. Combined with the sticky heat from outside, I started to get too hot, and it became a battle of wills. I soon succumbed to my desire for a crisp, cold glass of wine, but not before offloading the rest of my sake onto Michiel.

Outside the storm had stopped, so we took our chances and left, for fear of getting caught out later on, and although it was still sticky outside, we made it home without so much of a drop of water falling on us.

This bar definitely sparked my curiosity though, because there were a few different kinds of Sake on the menu, seemingly in different categories. When we got home I found this video, and it seems there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I have faith there is a Sake out there with my name on it.




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