Miki’s Trip to Japan

Just last month, our sake specialist Miki Ellis took a special trip to Japan! During her time, she toured around several different prefectures and sake breweries, while assisting with the sake making process and tasting extremely fresh sake.

One of these breweries included Yoshinogawa, the oldest sake brewery in the Niigata Prefecture.

Miki waits at the train station to visit sake brewery Yoshinogawa in the Niigata Prefecture.

Miki waits at the train station to visit sake brewery Yoshinogawa in the Niigata Prefecture.

Entrance to Yoshinogawa sake brewery.

Entrance to Yoshinogawa sake brewery.

Yoshinogawa was founded in 1548 and currently ‘retains many of its age-old practices while keeping focused on the changes in the world today’, creating some of Japan’s finest sakes. The Niigata region is known for its heavy snowfalls, which in turn, creates elegant, clean, and smooth sakes. It is currently guided by 19th generation President, Koji Kawakami. Miki had fun travelling to Yoshinogawa and tasting some of their sakes!

Miki at the Yoshinogawa sake brewery.

Miki at the Yoshinogawa sake brewery.


Miki tasting sake at Yoshinogawa sake brewery.

Miki tasting sake at Yoshinogawa sake brewery.



Since joining the Aburi team, Miki has strived to achieve and maintain high standards for our sake list. She takes pride in elevating both Miku and Minami to the top echelon of sake providers in the city. That desire drove her to seek out a brewery to create a sake specifically for the Aburi brand. Yoshinogawa is that brewery. They are excited to create a sake just for our restaurants.

Learn more about our exclusive Aburi sake in the our next blog post! But first, we’ll take a quick culinary tour with Miki at two of her favourite food and cocktail destinations in Japan.

Continental Breakfast at Minami

Breakfast at Minami

Our private rooms are great for business meetings, and our Blue Ocean room was recently booked for a full-day function. Equipped with AV equipment, a private entrance, and facilities, it is a great venue for a meeting.

Minami also provides continental breakfast as well as lunch! Priced at $15 per person (excluding gratuity and tax), the breakfast includes homemade seasonal scones/muffins, a plentiful fruit platter, tea, and drip coffee.

Here is our team with the spread. Yes, those are some delicious scones – bacon & green onion and white chocolate & orange.

breakfast at Minami

Our very own Alan Ferrer created the artful fruit platter spread. Not just made of melons, strawberries, and pineapple, it had a bit of everything, including dragon fruit.

minami fruit platter

For more information about our breakfast and lunch meeting bookings, please contact us at events@aburirestaurants.com or call 604.685.8055.

Be Our Aburi Valentine

Valentine's Day

We are featuring a special five-course Shokai for Valentine’s Day!

Call 604-685-8080 to book.



$140 per couple

1st Course

Minami Zen

Aburi Sashimi (4pieces)

Slow Roasted Beets Salad (6pieces beets)

Ebi Fritter (2pieces)

Chicken Foie Gras Gyoza (2pieces)


2nd Course

SEA: Saikyo Miso Baked Sable Fish &  New York Strip wrapped Hokkaido Scallops Duo


3rd Course

LAND: Soy Braised Sterling Silver AAA Short Rib & Beef Tenderloin Duo


4th Course

Aburi Sushi (10 pieces )


5th Course


Chocolate Raspberry Cake

verbana infused strawberry compote, strawberry sorbet, balsamic ice cream.


Dine Out Vancouver 2013

We are so excited to participate in our first ever Dine Out this year! Running from January 18 to February 3, Dine Out features prix fixe menus from over 200 restaurants. At Minami, our price point is $38. We also have a vegetarian menu option.

There is a wonderful video on the Dine Out Vancouver website: http://www.dineoutvancouver.com

Check out our two menus! We hope to see you!


Dine Out Menu


Minami Zen – 4 seasonal items Ebi Fritter black tiger prawn, spiced couscous, soy balsamic, sweet chili aioli Slow Roasted Beet baby frisse, fuji apple-raisin chutney, creamy goat cheese Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish kale goma-ae Soy Braised Short Rib AAA sterling, yukon potato puree, wasabi pickles


Sushi – 6 pieces Aburi Salmon Oshi Aburi Ebi Oshi Minami Roll Sunset Roll Zuke Maguro Saba Aburi


Piemonte Panna Cotta and Bitter Orange Sorbet cassis coulis

Christmas Menu

We are rolling out a special Christmas menu for today, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Dec 20-23)! Get your Minami fix before we close for the holidays, from December 24-26, 2012, priced at $90 each. Happy Holidays!

Christmas Menu #1


Today’s Sashimi and BC Oyster with Uni Yuzu Jelly


Premium Sushi

chef’s selection traditional and aburi style



Wild Mushroom “DASHI” Consommé Soup

hokkaido scallop and shrimp wonton, foie gras, petit bokchoy



Yuzu Kosho Baked Sable Fish

lobster chowder, potato fondant, baby carrot, daikon, kale, brussels sprouts


Champagne Granita


Tenderloin Beef  Wellington

AAA sterling , marinated haccho miso, creamy spinach

black truffle pinot noir reduction


Caramel Orange Ganache with Vanilla Bavaroise

chocolate sponge, orange sauce, strawberry banana sorbet

Miki Ellis

Introducing our new World of Sake feature

Miki Ellis

This month, we unveil a brand new blog feature called “World of Sake”. Twice a month, our blog will highlight something about sake. For example, a question and answer with a renowned sake maker, new sakes at Minami, sakes around the world, and much more.

To kick our new series off, here is a Q & A with our very own sake specialist, Miki Ellis! Miki is the world’s youngest certified sake professional. She has a wealth of sake knowledge and was recently featured on go! Vancouver, a local TV show.

Introducing, Miki!

Why do you love sake? It’s incredibly food-friendly and just so tasty!

How did you get into the industry? The obvious enjoyment of drinking was definitely a big part of it. Also, a few key people in my life got me excited about sake specifically.

Biggest misconception people have about sake? That it is a shot! Sake bombs are great, but by no means is it saké. The good stuff, premium sake, can (and should) be enjoyed like a white wine.

What would you say if someone asked you to pair sake with steak? I would go with a silky sake that has a good acidity level to breakdown the meat, as well as a solid body/structure to match the heavier palate. I’ve paired a kasu-marinated steak with a ginjo style sake called “Ginkkesho”, and it was awesome.

People should really get to know and explore sake, there is such a range to offer and when you nail a pairing. It’s brilliant.

What was your first sake memory? I remember thinking it was absolutely vile. I was really young and had to run to the kitchen to spit it out. However, alcohol tends to have that affect the first time you try it. Your palate is not accustomed to it, so it sometimes takes a few tries to get past the “alcohol veil”.

What are the top five songs on your playlist? It’s usually a strange mix of old stuff –I love Otis [Redding].

Favourite fish and why? Dory, I love Ellen DeGeneres.

The sake that you will always say yes to?  The more telling question would be which would I refuse…

What is a talent you possess that most people don’t know about? I make mean Fireball mini cupcakes.

Last place you traveled to for work or pleasure?  New York for Joy of Sake.

Taste of Yaletown

The team at Minami are so excited to participate in the 8th Annual Taste of Yaletown this year! The community has been amazing and super supportive, so we can’t wait to showcase our cuisine to an even wider audience. We are featuring two different three-course tasting menus: a $35 vegetarian option and a $45 regular option. Check out the menus here:

$35 vegetarian, featuring dishes such as crispy tempeh, vegetable sushi, and croissant bread pudding.

$45 regular, featuring dishes such as Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish, Ebi Fritter, and aburi sushi.

Executive Chef Matsuoka on CTV Morning Live promoting Taste of Yaletown! Video available here: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/ctv-morning-live



In addition, Minami is hosting Taste of Yaletown’s first ever Shake Up Yaletown! event on October 25th. Top bartenders from Yaletown will create a signature cocktail at our restaurant and compete for top honours. Guests will get to try the cocktails and taste some bites from Minami! To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit the Yaletown website.


Kozaemon x Kasu Sake Dinner

One of Japan’s oldest sake makers is coming to Vancouver for the first time. Kozaemon, a 14th generation brewery from Gifu, Japan, is being featured at Minami restaurant’s second sake dinner tasting event on Thursday, October 4, 2012, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., in the Blue Ocean private dining room. Mr Kozaemon will be joined by Minami sake specialist Miki Ellis and That’s Life Gourmet importers.

“We were happily amazed by the reception we received with our first sake dinner, Dassai, and can’t wait to host another with Kozaemon,” says Seigo Nakamura, owner of Aburi Restaurants. “There are so many great sakes in Japan, and we look forward to introducing Vancouver to more. It is an honour to host Kozaemon-san at Minami.”

Kozaemon was founded in 1702, and is currently run by two brothers. This sake dinner will explore the relationship between sake and its kasu, also known as “lees”. Kasu is the remaining mash from sake production, and was traditionally used in a range of Japanese cuisine. Executive Chef Kazuya Mastuoka will create six unique dishes using the kasu brought over from Japan to pair with each sake. The entire Kozaemon lineup available in BC will be poured for this exclusive event, as well as a special product currently unavailable in Canada.

“Sake is my passion, and it was great to sell-out the Dassai dinner,” adds Ellis. “We look forward to another great evening with Kozaemon, a newer brewery to our province, and a personal favourite of mine.”

Ellis is attending one of the world’s largest sake events in New York called Joy of Sake on September 20, 2012. She is also North America’s youngest accredited sake specialist – SEC Certified Advanced Sake Professional.

Tickets are $145 (tax and gratuity included) and can be purchased directly from Minami, Miku, or EventBrite (service fees apply). 

Dassai Sake Dinner

Dassai Logo

Explore the world of sake and join award winning Dassai sake brewery principle, Mr. Sakurai, BlueNote Wine and Spirits, and our in house certified sake specialist, Miki Ellis for Minami’s first sake dinner held in the Blue Ocean private dining room.  Ranked no.1 by the largest Japanese sake ranking site, Nihon-shu Mongatari, for 6 consecutive years, Dassai sake is a brewery rich in history.  Combining both innovative technology and Japanese traditions results in a well-balanced Daiginjo sake perfect for sipping.  Dassai is the first brewery to have a temperature-controlled environment, where they are able to produce sake through out the entire year.

The sake event will showcase 5  sakes from the Dassai line up paired with 5 courses of culinary creations by executive chef, Kazuya Matsuoka.  Seasonal and regional ingredients will be integrated into the dishes and inspiration will be drawn from global flavors and Japanese techniques to perfectly complement the subtle flavors of Dassai sake.

This event will be an exclusive opportunity for you to learn about the nuances of Japan’s prized beverage, along side our signature Aburi-style cuisine and great company.  Tickets are $120 per person (including tax and gratuity) and can be purchased through Eventbrite.  Make sure to purchase your tickets soon, as seats are limited.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
TIME: opening reception at 6:30pm, dinner to commence at 7:00pm
WHERE: Blue Ocean Room, Minami Restaurant, 1118 Mainland Street

Minami – Legacy Liquor Store – Adami Prosecco


most famous sparkling wine, Prosecco has taken the world by the storm.  Join Annie Lau  from Vendemmia Group, importer of fine boutique Italian wines at Legacy Liquor Store for Prosecco 101 on July 26th from 7-9pm.  She will be featuring wines from the Adami Family, one of the finest and also benchmark producer of Prosecco wines.

In this seminar, one will learn the history, pyramid level of quality and the new regulation surrounding the wine Prosecco.  Learn how this sparkling wine is made, taste and distinguish the different styles from Prosecco DOC Treviso to Cartizze, a celebrated Cru from this region available in our market place.  Also learn how to serve this popular sparkler and discover how it pairs beautifully with our Pacific Rim cuisine.

To celebrate our east meets west food culture in our city, Minami Restaurant will provide sample food pairings with Adami Prosecco wines.  Executive Chef Kazuya Matsuoka will demonstrate and explain his philosophy behind each exquisite creation for each Prosecco.  To whet one’s appetite,  Treviso DOC will paired with Amuse Duo which comprises of  shiso mojito compressed watermelon & heirloom tomato with fleur de sel, cayenne pepper and mizuna flower.  Next Bosca di Gica will showcase the BC Oyster with yuzu prosecco foam, followed by Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi, Minami’s signature aburi style sushi will be paired with Dei Casel.  The sublime Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish is a match in heaven with Vigneto Giardino 2011.  Our sweet ending will be baked Farmers’ Market Peach  with yuzu-basil mascarpone cream,  toasted almond, pistachio and raspberry sauce will be celebrated with Cartizze Dry

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.