Michael Karlo Lim
Akashi White Oak whisky introduces itself with a malty, citrusy aroma with deep caramelized fruit notes. Vanilla and pine nuts dominate the palate to a malty finish.
Chef Jan Rodriguez of The Weekend opened his Art Of Akashi 5-course whisky pairing degustation with an appetizer of beef tendon crisped into cracklings. Creamy Honey Butter contrasts the blank slate crunch, and the sprinkling of matcha salt lends distinctly herby saline pops through the rich flavors. White Oak whisky, Manuka honey and ginger shrub in the White Oak Sour cocktail balance the flavor heft of the otherwise lightweight starter.
The Akashi Blue is deceptively fruity to the nose but lightly smoky with the bite of spice on the palate and a sweet finish.
Earthy botanical meet briny sweetness in beet and juniper-cured salmon. These make a salad with mini croutons, cucumber cubes, and radish sprouts. Fragrant hibiscus and beet gelee and the mildly tart yuzu dressing brighten up the dish while bonito flakes add a touch of umami. The cocktail, Old Blue: Akashi Blue Whisky, honey, Angostura & Bittermens Burlesque Bitters and orange peel, both arrests the more intense seafood flavor of salmon and allows the delightfully buttery quality through.
The brand’s flagship malt, Akashi Single Malt, has pronounced spiciness — sharp ginger and earthy cumin — evident to the nose and playing out on the tongue, with petrol notes and finishing smooth and smokey.
Delicately smoked eel made a perfect pair. Thin films of pear top the fish with a soft crunch with foie gras adding a shot of creamy and buttery flavor. Sansho pepper adds the odd but welcome zing, and the sweet hickory of unagi sauce matches the fish dish it is usually served with. A straightforward Scotch & Soda makes a muted compliment to the spice of the dish.
Akashi Toji is the most subtle of the lineup. Sweet vanilla and honey tingle the nose with the flavors following through the taste chased by chocolate, dried fruits and a long finish of cinnamon.
Succulent and deliciously fatty slow-roasted and smoked Angus beef short ribs sit on an Akashi red whisky reduction in shiitake and anchovy cream. A drizzling of red wine and beet sauce plays up the rareness of the meat. The Tokyo Toji cocktail leans towards the fruity with cherry blossom vermouth, Orange Bitters, Bittermens Xocolatl bitters added to the Akashi Toji a whisky extend the fruity and smoky flavors of the dish.
Simple and subtly sweet, plum is the predominant flavor in Akashi Umeshu, with the whisky-finish preceded by both sweet and sour notes.
In a take on the Mizu Shingen Mochi, the raindrop cake is reinterpreted as a giant cocktail ice cube in an old-fashioned lowball. Savory-sweet mitarashi sauce hint at its identity as a dessert. The Plum cocktail pushes that suggestion forward with ginger, honey syrup, lemon and soda intensifying the sweetness of the Umeshu whisky.
Akashi Whiskeys and the signature cocktails above are now on regular availability at the Weekend. The special menu items are subject to availability and are best pre-ordered.
The Weekend Kitchen + Taproom is located at The Greenery, Pope John Paul Ave., Cebu City. For inquiries, please contact (032) 384 2802.