Sakura Den: Japanese Cocktail Bar
Located on the edge of Old Klang Road sits a quiet little bar, with a theme that is quite simple yet elegant, Sakura Den. This Japanese sake cocktail bar seeks to do one thing, to serve high quality Asian spirits blended with great local ingredients. With a menu focusing on traditional Asian health remedies to their Cocktail’s Creed programme, you need to see why you should take your horse to the Old Klang Road.
Sakura Den is run by The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur Luminaries 2019 winner Arsenio “Ash” Mariano Jr. and is fashioned like an old Chinese medicine hall, with little cupboards as shelves decorating the back of its bar. The cocktail menu is based on Asian remedies and is centred around health tonics that is believe to enhance our being.
“The gist of my belief is that the sole purpose of cocktails is pleasure. From the aesthetic to the balance of the flavours, the cocktail experience is tailored to however you choose it to be. The flexibility of cocktails makes the design possibilities endless – it’s really interesting to get to explore new experiences by discovering flavours, and finding new ways to present cocktails in unique and creative ways. At Sakura Den, the bar is designed in the stylings of the traditional medicinal halls of East Asia so, the concept of our menu is to focus on Asian flavours aesthetically presented to highlight Asian culture infused with the modern-day bar culture. The flavours are focused on casting a new light on the common perceptions of Asian ingredients.” — Arsenio “Ash” Mariano Jr., Head Bartender of Sakura Den.
Kinsey Gin, Bird’s Nest, Peach Gum Infused with Longan Jujube Syrup and Ume
One of their new signatures is based on the traditional Chinese health tonic, the bird’s nest. Believe to be able to enhance our complexion, this-cocktails lends those benefits as well as the usage of peach gum. This drink is tasty and stronger than you think.
Brugal Blanco, Carpano Antica Formula, Mangosteen Juice, Pandan Syrup and Lime
This cocktail uses the local mangosteen and pandan as its base for flavours.
Kinsey Gin, Mathilde Poire Liqueur, Nigori Yuzushu, Shiso leaves, Lemon and Soda
The Japanese inspired pear cocktail uses yuzu and shiso, two flavours commonly found in Japan.
Sakurao Original, Umeshu, Chartreuse Gentiano
The Sakura Negroni is a twist on the classic, but is one of the more unique versions of the cocktail you will come across. The flavours were balanced with bitter and sweet, and the gentian added a nice ginseng-like bitterness to it, with the umeshu adding that sweet-saltiness, giving a bit of everything without the sakura fragrance being lost in-between. Definitely worth a try.
Cocktail’s Creed Programme
The Cocktail’s Creed programme is a an omakase provided by the bartender on Sundays, in which you can choose for the bar to make you 2 bespoke cocktails for RM70 or 3 for RM90. This is a great way to sample the range of cocktails and the bartender’s skill to appease your palate.
Kamquat Highball & Cheesecake
These cocktails were made with giving the bartender specific flavour profiles, or flavours you’d like to try. The Kamquat Highball is made with kamquats, mandarins, triple sec and a dash of soda while the Cheesecake was a sours with cheese foam and crumble on the side.
| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: NICHOLAS NG & SAKURA DEN | WEBSITE: SAKURA DEN |