It was Victoria’s birthday last week and she came to London as part of her celebrations so I treated her to dinner at one of my to visit restaurants Sake No Hana. OK no that’s a little bit of a lie. I’m one of those people who never remember my friends birthdays until it’s too late and then try to make up for it when we meet up by buying you dinner or drinks. Sorry Victoria, nothing personal!
Sake No Hana has been on my must visit list ever since I saw it on SilverSpoon London‘s blog at the start of this year. It’s a little more out of my price range for a regular dinner but via OpenTable you can get a great 5 course Taste of Sake No Hana menu including glass of prosecco for £29 per person which is great for a special occasion like this.
It was a really horrible day out and by the time we got to the restaurant I looked a drowned rat but the slick interior and the smell of burning incense helped calm me and get me back in the right frame of mind for some of the best Japanese food I have ever had. Now, unbeknownst to me, Victoria hadn’t actually looked at the menu before agreeing and not only hadn’t had sushi before but isn’t a fan of fish… oops! Up the impressive escalators we went to a minimalist (and rather empty – our booking was for 6pm which is opening time) restaurant to take our seats.
The first course was, of course, a traditional white miso soup – shiro misohiru which oddly came with no spoon. Instead we started off trying to eat it delicately with chopsticks before giving up and slurping it down. It was much lighter than other miso soups that I’d had before and slightly less salty which was nice.
We then had a starter of prawn or vegetable tempura and while the portions were quite small they were cooked to perfection. The batter was deliciously light and crispy instead of soggy and there was a wide range of veggies used including asparagus (my fave!) which makes a nice change from the usual boring offerings at Yo!Sushi of carrot, onion and aubergine.
Next was the sushi course, I went for the fishy version while Victoria opted for the vegetarian. So many people think that sushi has to involve raw fish and that’s really not true at all. Some of my favourite kinds of sushi are the ones with no meat in it, avocado maki rolls for a start. Anyway, I digress the sushi at Sake no Hana was utter perfection and I didn’t want it to end. You could tell that it had been freshly handrolled right before serving. It was Victoria’s first experience of sushi and while she didn’t love it she didn’t exactly hate it either – I’ll turn her into a convert soon I’m sure.
For main there was a choice between salmon hoba teriyaki (Char-grilled salmon on hoba leaf with teriyaki sauce), Yukki Dori Sumiyaki (Char-grilled organic chicken with pickled courgette) or Agedashi tofu toban (Tofu and aubergine in dash broth). I of course chose the salmon and Victoria went for the chicken. The presentation of these dishes was exceptional and almost too good to eat. Only almost though and what followed was some of the most perfectly cooked fish I have ever had. The little crisps that it came with gave a wonderful texture to the dish and although I was struggling I made sure I ate every last morsel.
Finally it was time for dessert and I have to say I was bitterly disappointed. When Lifestyle Lauren went just a few weeks before us the signature dessert was a delicious looking mango pannacotta. For us it was a still beautiful to look at slice of apple tart tatin but if there is one thing I really don’t like its hot fruit based desserts. Sorry! While it may not have been to my taste Victoria polished hers off even after the previous few courses so if you like that kind of thing it must be pretty great!
The Taste of Sake no Hana menu is really great value for money. The food is of exceptional quality and the atmosphere is lovely too so I really recommend it even despite my dislike of the dessert 😉
Sake No Hana
23 St James’s Street