And now for something completely different…a sake bar in the heart of Covent Garden. Moto had only been open just over a week when we visited and was a truly different and enjoyable experience. Owner Erica is passionate about sake and her knowledge is quite astounding. Not a subject I know a lot about so I was keen to learn and taste. There’s such an array of sake on offer and the flavours vary quite considerably. As you can see nicely laid out on the shelves when you walk in.
Moto is the UK’s first independent Japanese beverage bar serving artisan drinks sourced from small producers throughout Japan
Okay, it’s a bit confusing if you’re a bit of a sake novice. But this is the perfect place to be as there’s plenty of help at hand. We were recommended a sake flight with three different types of sake selected by the sommelier. Each glass came with beautifully laid out tasting notes and a full explanation.
Of course you shouldn’t really be sake tasting on an empty stomach and Moto has a lovely selection of nibbles. The Nasu No Nibitashi is possibly the best aubergine dish I’ve ever tasted. Simmered aubergines in a rich broth, perfect served with a bowl of rice. We also tried the Nekomanma – rice topped with a soy-cured yolk and bonito flakes for a tasty salty finish.
We also demolished a bowl of chicken fry – Moto’s rendition of chicken karage breaded with tempura crumb and sake. Beautifully crisp and light and not at all oil, incredible crumbed chicken.
Moto also has a truly exotic cocktail list – all made with their Japanese liquor of course. We tried out their Ocean Martini – made from bonito gin, vermouth and miso – described as briny which it certainly was.
And the intriguingly named Shochu and Morphine. The shochu is distilled from sweet potatoes and was mixed with ground poppy seeds (morphine, you see), with a touch of coconut in the form of Malibu. And served with a delicate envelope of popping candy which you tip onto your tongue before taking a sip for a sizzling taste sensation. I loved this cocktail, a truly unique experience.
There’s so much to try at Moto, all from Japan, like this vanilla gin, the fresh vanilla pods are added in house. How I’d love a jar of that in my house. And there’s a range of Japanese craft beers – so something for everything. Moto is a great addition to vibrant Covent Garden.
Today’s price point
Our bar nibbles cost £20.
The sake tasting flight costs from £15 for three drinks.
Cocktails start from £15.
Moto is at 7 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden WC2