Experience Edgy Japanese Dining In This Telok Ayer Gastropub | Clozette


Kabuke, a portmanteau of “kabuki” and “sake”, is an edgy Japanese speakeasy gastrobar hidden up on the second level of a shophouse in Telok Ayer. We were invited by co-owner and sake sommelier Keiji Heng to experience the revamped menu by Head Chef Rio Neo, formerly of Fat Cow. The intimate 50-seater space anchored by a long bar counter is warmly lit, with a private dining area concealed by large vibrantly coloured hand-painted fans inspired by Kabuki (歌舞伎), a traditional Japanese form of theatre with roots tracing back to the Edo period.


Kabuke - facade and interior

Left: Facade of Kabuke; Right: Large hand-painted fans concealing the private dining area 


The new menu is best described as casual refined fusion, where classic Japanese ingredients are given a modern spin and painstakingly paired with sakes specially curated from artisan breweries from different prefectures across Japan. Heng shared that he proactively seeks special blends and rare finds from less-known breweries to add to an exclusive Sommelier’s selection.


Kabuke - scallops 

First to take the stage of the metaphorical grand theatre was the Wild-Caught Hokkaido Scallops, Sea Grapes, Marinated Salmon Roe paired with an ATAGO NO MATSU Junmai Ginjo Sa Sa Ra “愛宕の松 純米吟醸 ささら”. The semi-dry and refreshing sake by Niizawa Sake Brewery of Miyagi Prefecture, established 1873 in Osaki City, cleansed the palate and heightened the sweetness of the fresh scallop sashimi simply dressed with truffle shoyu.



Hearty eaters would love the Wagyu Sando, a Japanese Wagyu Cutlet slathered with house-made Wasabi Cream Cheese and sandwiched between Hokkaido Milk Toast. The beef we had was a Kagoshima wagyu strip loin but the actual breed served will depend on the season, and may include Miyazaki wagyu and Hokkaido snow beef. The dish was paired with a RAIFUKU Junmai Ginjo Super Dry ”来福 純米吟醸 超辛口” from Raifuku Sake Brewery, established in 1716 at the slope of Mt.Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture that provides access to superb pure water. Made with Begonia flower yeast, this sake boasts a clean texture and delicate aroma, making it my favourite sake of the evening — usually served with seafood, its bold and dry masculinity goes well with meat dishes, too.


Kabuke - sake

A dish that really goes particularly well with sake is the Snow Crab Leg Tempura Dried served with Green Laver and Yuzu-Infused Sea Salt. Its sweet crispiness is the perfect foil for the KAGATOBI Junmai Daiginjo Ai “加賀鳶 純米大吟醸 藍”, a light and dry sake that delighted with a clean and elegant mouthfeel. Coincidently, it comes from Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery in Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture — the oldest brewery in the city, established in 1625 — where we recently enjoyed a lovely sake sampling at its retail store nestled in the Edo-period Higashi Chaya district. The brewery doesn’t officially export its sake outside of Japan, and some labels are only available in that store.



Kabuke - Guilty Pleasure Bowl


For the ultimate sin, splurge on The Guilty Pleasure Bowl (SGD88) comprising the holy trinity of Japanese Wagyu, Sea Urchin and Foie Gras on a bed of fluffy rice topped with Caviar, Salmon Roe, Truffle Shoyu and Onsen Egg. This dish was matched with a RYUSEI Junmai Daiginjo Hattan Gojyu “龍勢 純米大吟醸 八反伍拾”, a sharp and earthy sake hailing from the Fujii Sake Brewery, established 1863 in Takehara City in Hiroshima Prefecture, carrying subtle rice sweetness and light melon notes that balance the complexity of the rich ingredients.

For sake newbies, Kabuke’s sake menu is very user-friendly; it's classified into four categories: A, B, C and Luxe in ascending order of price, along with simple tasting notes to aid in the selection process. Don't pass up on the MIYAKANBAI Junmai Daiginjo Jishasaibai Yamadanishiki “宮寒梅 純米吟醸 美山錦”, a premium sake produced in very small quantity by Kanbai Sake Brewery in Miyagi Prefecture, apparently available nowhere else outside Japan before Kabuke scored stocks. Sakes on the menu are available by the glass (90ml), a carafe (300ml), or bottle (720ml).

Not into sakes? No worries because guests can enjoy specially mixed Kabuke Kocktails made with quality Japanese whiskies, gins, and of course sake. Notwithstanding the expansive sake selection, the well-executed eclectic menu is good enough to stand on its own.


You can find Kabuke at 200A Telok Ayer Street from Mondays to Saturdays.


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The latest fashion trend right now isn't a style of clothing or a retro piece, it's the face mask. With air quality dipping because of alleged man-made forest fires, increasing demand for this accessory prompted a stylish makeover. Far from the boring painter's and surgical mask, the latest versions took different forms ranging from sleek and technologically advance to cutesy with dainty designs. Can you believe that it even made an appearance during fashion week?



But while it's a relatively new thing to treat this once boring piece as a style statement on a global scale, in East Asia, masks have already been fashionable for quite some time all thanks to local pop stars who sport it not just for health reasons but also to conceal identity while in public areas. During the winter, masks are also used to protect parts of the face from drying out. 


Now, the trend has spread all over the world even in tropical areas most especially in South East Asia where the haze is still being experienced in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Ahead, where you can buy (and try) stylish masks.


Pitta Mask



Want a chic and sleek mask? You should check out Pitta Masks. They come in neutral and pastel colours which can go well with any outfit and are made from a comfortable, lightweight and washable material called polyurethane. But unlike other newly launched mask brands, the Pitta Mask isn't built for combatting air pollution. Instead, it was made for preventing allergies due to increased pollen count during the spring season. You can also use this for protection against dust when you're cleaning the house. 


Airinum


Alan Walker Ft. Airinum

Alan Walker Ft. Airinum (SGD139/~USD100)


If street style is your aesthetic, then you'll love Airinum masks. Just recently, they even had a collaboration with DJ Alan Walker! The masks are KN95 certified with changeable filters that use a three-layer filter technology to protect against the smallest airborne contaminants and reduce exposure to bacteria. It also comes in different sizes and has an adjustable head-strap and earloops to ensure a perfect fit. In Singapore, you can find Airinum masks at Ante, and in the Philippines, you can check it out at Assembly.


Vogmask



Those who love playing with patterns and prints will be charmed by Vogmask's unique mask designs. The selections are wide: cute pandas, plaid, abstract and more. But it's not just all for show, Vogmask is certified to protect against airborne particles such as PM 0.3, PM 2.5, PM 10 and allergens. However, since this brand is based in San Francisco (but offers international shipping), it may take a while for you to get your hands on it.


O2O2 Facewear



The O2O2 is a mask like no other. Imagine a face mask that has the ability to clean the air you breathe, detect air quality, the status of your air filter, and possibly also information about your health. Hypothetically, data gathered from users can be used to influence legislation into advocating environmental efforts. This promising Black Mirror-esque mask is still in its development phase and you could be one of the first to try it by filling out a form on their website.


P.S. Here are our articles on how you can reduce your carbon footprint and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.


(Cover photo from: @pitta_mask.id)


Next, check out tips on how to wear white in a polluted city.


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Being one of the most revered style influencers in Manila, actress and socialite Love Marie (also known by her screen name Heart Evangelista) has a slew of collaborations with local and international labels under her belt. But it seems like the latest one, her jewellery collection with Royal Gem, is the most personal by far. 


Heart Evangelista Love Marie Royal Gem Launch

Love Marie at the launch in Manila House


Called "The Modern Muse", this collaboration features artwork from Love Marie's Full Bloom Collection. During the launch, she shared that painting has become an outlet for her to express her inner emotions and has served as a way to destress and cope with life's challenges. "When I made my paintings, I really didn't expect anybody would pay attention. I did it for myself. It really was a dream come true (to be able to work with brands in showcasing my paintings)," she shared.


Royal Gem Modern Muse Love Marie

The Whimsy painting and Whimsy Italian Gold Pendant


Inspired by her personal experiences, the subject of the paintings are different women and each has a beautiful story behind. The piece with her favourite story is the one featured in the Muted Euphoria Cameo Pendant. "I made it into a teardrop shape to symbolise the tears of joy. This painting is really special. I was going through depression and anxiety. Originally, this painting has a lot of colours; it kind of says how I'm hopeful and I'm very happy person despite my circumstance," Love Marie said.


Royal Gem Modern Muse Love Marie

The Muted Euphoria painting and Muted Euphoria Cameo Pendant


"This is my most personal collaboration with Royal Gem thus far since I'm featuring my actual works of art,” she added. The Modern Muse collection has two selections: Cameo and Italian Gold. If you want eye-catching minimalist pieces, you'd love the Cameo pendants that are hand-carved in Queen Helmet conch shell.


Royal Gem Modern Muse Love Marie

Ponder Cameo Pendant and Tres Marias Cameo Pendant


But if you're fond of colours, the Italian Gold pieces are the way to go. All pieces in this particular selection are set in fine enamel jewellery outlined with Italian Gold.


Royal Gem Modern Muse Love Marie

The Italian Gold Modern Muse Collection


As for style tips, Love Marie believes there's no particular way to style jewellery, as long as you feel good wearing it. "It's really all about what connects with you, what you would wear every day; something you feel that will blend (with your style)." But personally, she loves layering pieces. "I like to mix sentimental and fashionable pieces. I don't wear them one by one, I like to wear them all together. It just feels different."


Perhaps that's why all pendants from the collection are designed so that they can be used for bracelets and necklaces that can be worn as they are or layered together.


Royal Gem Modern Muse Love Marie


The limited-edition 2019 Royal Gem x Love Marie Jewelry Collection: The Modern Muse is available for purchase on their website and in select Royal Gem stores.


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