8 Pan Asian Drink Pairings

By Liv, DMT Collaborator on 25th August 2021 in Blog

No true flavour experience is complete without the drink to match the meal. At Intoku Sushi and Robata in the heart of Kensington, we have an extensive drinks menu designed to ensure you feel pure joy in every bite and sip.

While opinions on the best drinks to pair with Pan Asian cuisine vary, these are our suggestions from our Kensington menu. Maybe next time you visit, you’ll be inspired to try something new!


2. Lager

Pale lagers are a popular drink of choice in Japan. The mild, crisp, and light-tasting drink pairs well with the delicate flavours of simpler sushi dishes, as it doesn’t overpower other elements.

At Intoku, we recommend you try one of the three Japanese beers on our menu – Asahi Super dry, “Japan’s No.1 beer”, Kirin Ichiban, or Sapporo Premium. The subtle taste and refreshing carbonation balance out the heat and spice of Asian ingredients like wasabi and ginger, keeping the palate fresh throughout your meal. 

Nothing beats a cool, refreshing Japanese beer.

2. White Wine

Similar to lagers, dry white wines are the perfect match for sushi. The clean, crisp flavour profile is the ideal complement to fresh salads and vegetables in vegan and vegetarian sushi dishes.

We recommend our Sauvignon Blanc, a dry, fresh classic Italian white from the Veneto region. This matches pickled vegetables and ginger well due to its high acidity and zesty, herbal flavours. 

Alternatively, if you’re at Intoku to celebrate, champagne or prosecco are great choices. Our NV Brut Baron de Marck Gobillard is a delicious, fruity pure Chardonnay French Champagne that pairs well with sushi and sashimi.

Nothing says celebration like prosecco!

3. Red Wine

A richer option, the aromas of red wine suit stronger flavours that can hold their own. 

We recommend pairing our Pinot Noir, a light, classic Italian red from Veneto county, with our robata dishes. The bolder tastes of grilled meat, fish, and even vegetables don’t struggle to make themselves heard against the richness of an aromatic red.

In addition, red wines go well with fried Asian dishes such as tempura, chicken katsu curry and our crispy, crunchy buns. Plus, if you follow a plant-based diet, we also stock a vegan red wine option.

Red wine suits bolder flavours.

4. Whiskey

Whiskey makes the perfect pair to more complex dishes with many elements and flavours.

In the world of whiskies, Japanese whiskey is closest to the Scotch variety and comes in single malt and blended malt varieties. Despite its stronger, smokier flavours, it is much more common to drink whiskey with a meal in Japan, rather than as an after-dinner drink. This is often in the form of a long drink such as a highball.

Due to its smokey flavour profile, Japanese whiskey makes the ideal accompaniment to the chargrilled flavours of robata. If this all sounds a little too intense for your palate, try one of our whiskey cocktails for a fresher take. We recommend the Toki Highball.

At Intoku Kensington, our whiskey selection includes several Japanese, American, and Scottish varieties, perfect for enjoying however you prefer. 

A whiskey sour is a great accompaniment to a Japanese meal.

5. Sour and Umami Cocktails

Umami is a category of taste that corresponds to the flavour of glutamates. The best way to describe it is savoury, although it has also been referred to as earthy or meaty, and is attributed to many ingredients in Asian cuisine, including seaweed and fish.

When it comes to the umami present in sushi and Pan Asian dishes, it is safer to match with savoury drinks, rather than contrast or fight it with sweeter drinks. 

We recommend matching a Dry Martini, Margarita, or Whiskey Sour with raw sushi dishes like salmon or our Hamachi Yellowtail tuna. Their high acid and citrus notes cut through the natural rich fattiness of the fish, bringing out its sweetness.

However, if you prefer something sweet with your sushi, who are we to judge, you might just be onto something!

A dry martini is the perfect drink pairing for umami flavours

6. Vodka

The ultimate versatile spirit, vodka goes with almost everything. Its neutral flavour means it never overshadows or dulls any of the delicate intricacies of artisan sushi and 0ther Asian cuisine.

Intoku’s vodka offering includes Haku Japanese Craft Vodka, Reyka Icelandic Vodka, and Russian Standard, served with your choice of mixer.


7. Green Tea and Jasmine Tea

If you’re not a drinker, or perhaps just fancy a non-alcoholic option, green tea should be your go-to. Its gentle freshness is not only the ideal palate cleanser it’s also beneficial to digestion.

Green tea goes so well with sushi that in many traditional sushi restaurants in Japan, it is typically offered for free! The hot tea works well to cleanse the tongue of the distinct but delicate flavours of each piece of sushi so that every dish has a chance to shine.

While less traditional, jasmine tea, which is green tea-based, has a more floral aroma and flavour. If you struggle to enjoy the slight bitterness of green tea, jasmine tea could be the alternative for you.

Enjoying refreshing Jasmine tea.

8. Sweet Cocktails

Intoku has a great offering of sweet cocktail options. While sweeter drinks are not typically recommended to directly accompany a meal of sushi or robata, they are perfect as a post or pre-dinner treat. 

Sophisticated classics like the Passionfruit Martini and the Kir Royale wash down or establish contrast for the salty, spicy, savoury flavour palate of sushi and pan Asian dishes.

One of our very own creations is the Intoku Delight, a true sweet treat. Strawberry liqueur combines with Baileys to produce a creamy pink effect inspired by the cherry blossoms that adorn our interiors!

Cherry blossoms, just like the ones that inspire Intoku’s interiors.

We hope you enjoyed this quick tour of just a small selection of Intoku Kensington’s delicious drink offerings. Book a table now to discover the rest of our menu!

Please bear in mind, these drinks are purely recommendations, and your opinion on the best drinks to pair with sushi and robata may differ. You may even have a thing or two to teach us about pairing Pan Asian flavours!

Let us know what your favourite Intoku drink pairing is. Comment below or contact us via our social media, @eatintoku on Instagram, and Intoku on Facebook.

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