Tonkotsu Mare Street has a range of more than 60 whiskies, the majority of which are Japanese. You’ll find some rarities along with an extensive range from Nikka and Suntory, as well as Paul John from Goa, India and a few from the Taiwanese Kavalan. The long, zinc-topped bar sits at the front of the ramen restaurant which serves some of London’s best ramen made with fresh noodles and long-simmered broths. Have a chat with the bar team who’ll be able to recommend a whisky or two to sip at the bar, or to drink with dinner. David Wrigley, our resident whisky expert says: with whisky, it’s useful to think about terroir as you would a wine. Whisky from a coastal region like the Islands of Scotland or the coast of Hokkaido like Yoichi, tend to bring with them the vigourous, salty elements of their home. They therefore pair very well with fish and sushi in particular. I often look to pick out distinct tastes and aromas from a whisky and think how those elements work with food. A whisky that’s particularly nutty I will try and pair with something earthy like mushrooms. If a whisky has a strong orchard fruit character I’ll match it with pork.
Three stand-out whiskies chosen by David.
For an expression of what Japanese whisky is all about I think the Hibiki 17 is a great choice. There are those Mizunara characteristics, the coconut and the sandalwood with some pine resin and oak to go with it. It’s also got three things which stand out in Japanese whisky- it’s incredibly smooth and harmonious, it’s beautifully packaged and it’s ridiculously expensive.
Ichiro's Malt Double Distillery. Contains whisky from the sadly defunct Hanyuu distillery and Chichibu. Vanilla, coconut and generally bourbon-like characteristics are initially apparent, followed by some wonderful wood (Mizunara?) and spice notes. Pretty hard to find nowadays.
For something a little bit different, the Nikka Coffey Malt is perfect. The only malt whisky in the world made in a Coffey Still (normally used for grain whisky). Clean citrus fruit, dense spice and rich oak. One for the train spotters.
We host regular whisky tastings at the restaurant. For details of the next one, or to arrange a private tasting event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.