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A bluffer’s guide to sake ettiquette

The etiquette of Japanese dining often represents a significant portion of the food’s enjoyment factor. And it can be so much more rewarding if you understand the customs that drive the social interactions.

A bluffer’s guide to sake ettiquette

So if you’ve ever struggled over the etiquettes of sake, or even if you simply enjoy Japan’s renowned beverage – MASU Japanese Robata Restaurant and Bar at SKYCITY has a great offer going.

The multiple award-winning restaurant has introduced a sake appreciation upgrade for diners who book MASU’s spectacular semi-private dining room, the OBI Room.

Before food is served, diners learn the intricacies of nihonshu – the traditional beverage commonly known as sake – under the tutelage of MASU.

A $35 per person charge includes the tasting flight of three premium sakes as well as topical and anecdotal discussion points. Guests must be 18 or older to partake in the Sake appreciation package.

The OBI Room is perfectly suited to intimate group dining with seating limited to 18 guests.

Things you may not know about sake and its etiquette:

  • It is the only beverage in the world considered to have umami, the elusive fifth flavour descriptor.
  • Most sake is made in a consistent style year to year meaning that there are no bad years for sake and it is mostly made with the intention it will be drunk fresh and young.
  • You should always pour the sake for your guests and then they will reciprocate for you.
  • Sipping is considered to be more elegant than drinking the whole cup at once.
  • Pay attention or your companions may keep filling your glass (if you want no more, place your hand on your cup or leave it full).
  • MASU focuses on the 20 per cent of sake that qualifies as “tokutei meishoshu” or premium sake.

About MASU

Celebrated New Zealand chef Nic Watt brings his passion for flavour and dedication to detail to Auckland with MASU, the Japanese robata restaurant and bar in Federal Street at SKYCITY. The restaurant draws on Nic’s exceptional pedigree, experience he has gained from running highly successful robata restaurants in London, Macau, Hong Kong and America. Robata is contemporary Japanese cuisine cooked over a charcoal grill where theatre and ambience are as much of the process as the eating.  MASU’s philosophy is based on the enhancement of natural ingredients, letting the food and the presentation speak for themselves while at the same time making each dish taste sensational. More at

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