Ultimate Umami experience


Ultimate Umami experience
presented by Taku and Nøgne Ø @ Vespa & Humla,

To mark the launch of limited release of Nøgne Ø Nigori sake from Vinmonopolet category 7 stores from 7. April, a special sake-food pairing event was held at Vespa & Humla.

As the guests entered this popular local Italian brasserie cum microbrewery, through a Japanese Noren curtain doors, they were greeted by Amazake welcome drink made from fresh Sake lees from Grimstad mixed with brown sugar and ginger. The venue was transformed into a Japanese style Izakaya for the evening.



Most of the guests were Taku’s regulars, members of the Japan-Norway society and Sub-Japan Facebook Group as well as a sushi chef from a secret location near Oslo, who have had some knowledge about Japanese food and sake.

I first came to know Chef Arne Austbø in a four-page article on Mat Fra Norge in 2012 (Nov 6 2013). He was introduced as a creative chef who makes sushi with Norwegian twist having had extensive working experience in Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, London and Copenhagen. I also noticed that he published a cookbook on sushi in 2013. To my knowledge there are three cookbooks dedicated to Sushi published by Norwegian chefs and this is one of them. (Others are from Alex Sushi and Kulinarisk Akademi) Moreover, Chef Arne has done tasting back in 2011 of Nøgne Ø sakes with his culinary friends and gave a little bit bitter critique. He was one of the graduates of the recent Sake Sommelier Course and has reviewed our sake thoroughly and gave thumbs-up this time.

 Chef Arne Austbø 

Chef Arne Austbø 

We are very pleased that Taku-Nøgne Ø collaboration which was discussed since September last year finally came into fruition marking the release of special Nigori Sake.

Chef Arne was very creative in pairing:
Konbu cured sashimi (Salmon and Turbot) with local seaweeds with Sparkling sake.
Charcoal grilled chicken with red onion pickles with Junmai.
Sake lees and miso marinated grilled fatty fish kama (jaw area) with new Nigori sake
Dark chocolate with Kijoshu.

“Although the amount of food is not overwhelming, they are all tasty and rich in Umami and paired well with sake. My stomach feels satisfied and I feel very healthy as a result of this experience. I am proud of Norwegian Sake and will ask my husband to look for it when Nigori is released.” said Ms. Tone Ravndal, the wife of Mr. Anders Håan, the former President of The Japan-Norway Society.

The room was full-house and we had a very good rapport with many of the guests who showed interest in learning more about Japanese food and Sake. There was a full support of team Nøgne Ø; Martin showing his newly acquired Sake Sommelier skills mingling with the guests and Ingebjørg and alumni Adriana enjoying the sake-food pairing with rest of the guests.

My appreciation goes to Mr. Brock Bennett, Toji, Master Sake Brewer, for making such elegant sake which matched very well with Norwegian seasonal ingredients. Silky texture of Nigori cut through fatty fish very well and left us with refreshing aftertaste. “Thank you” for giving us this ultimate Umai experience. I also wish to thank Chef Arne Austbø for coming up with creative and perfect Otsumami for the evening! All the photo credit goes to Ms. Asaki Abumi, a Japanese journalist resident in Oslo.

Kaori Ishii
Sales/Taste Promoter Nøgne Ø