Blooming lovely | Sakura at Sake no Hana | 23 St. James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HA
Much to Ade’s dismay I adore blossom, ahhing at every fluffy flourishing tree that we drive past and clipping off a teeny sprig to put by our bed. I jumped at the chance to spend time in Sake no Hana‘s pop up cherry blossom secret garden, even if it wasn’t real, florists Veevers Carter have done a fab job transforming the bar.
Up until 19th May the Japanese restaurant by the internationally acclaimed Hakkasan group are celebrating the arrival of spring and the Japanese cherry blossom season with ‘Sakura’ (meaning cherry blossom). The only problematic factor was that it meant I had to attempt sushi again. One of our downfalls is that neither of us particularly enjoy it, although we love other Japanese food offerings, just not the raw fishy stuff that tastes like the sea.
The menu consists of the following, for research purposes we tried all of them:
- Hanami Bellini Cocktail – Sparkling sake, Luxardo cherry liqueur, Heering cherry liqueur, lime,
- Tanqueray gin £10
- Sakuratini Cocktail - Maraschino cherry liqueur; sake, vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, lime, orange
- Sakura Cherry Iced Tea – Marasca cherries, jasmine tea, lime £5.50
- Sakura Tea - pot of tea made from the leaves of cherry blossom trees £4.50
- Sakura Crystal Double-Layer Bento Box - served with a miso soup starter, the first layer of the box
contains seven-spice chicken kuwayaki and spring salad with sesame dressing. The second sushi layer
comprises salmon avocado, spicy tuna and California rolls, and chu-toro and salmon sashimi £28
- Sakura Palet D’or – cherry-chocolate dessert with fresh cherries, nashi pear, almonds and ginger, and
cherry blossom tea ice-cream made from the leaves of cherry blossom trees £8
- Cherry blossom macarons - vanilla macarons with cherry blossom tea ganache £1.60 each or five for £7
Highlights were the Sakuratini cocktail which delivered floral wafts of blossom every time I took a sip, I found myself inhaling the empty glass once the remains were gone. The aromatic Sakura tea was so soothing whist the Sakura cherry iced tea was thirst quenching and cooling. We can’t get enough of anything that contains cherry, we were certainly in the right place for it. Unfortunately I can confirm that I still can’t get on with sushi and sashimi although we could appreciate the quality of ingredients and construction.
Ade found himself falling for the carefully crafted parcels with a dollop of crab on top and lapped up the slithers of sweet ginger especially rolled up with fresh salmon sashimi. Luckily for me, sushi is just one component of Japanese cooking – there was a warming mushroom miso broth and the tender chicken kuwayaki in the bento box that I didn’t want to end, so gorgeous with a crunchy spring salad of asparagus and tenderstem broccoli.
We loved the daintily painted macarons bursting with a cherry blossom tea ganache, I stumbled across a recipe for them here from The Independent, for those brave enough to try. Meanwhile the Sakura Palet D’or was a wonderful and not too rich union of cherry and chocolate which went down well with a little taster of the sweet sparkling sake. We loved how cherry pieces came tumbling out once we delved into the dessert, the teeny nashi pear jelly cubes were so good we wished there had been a larger scattering.
What a great and informal way to experience a little taster of Sake no Hana’s Japanese fare whilst being enveloped in blossom, it could be a pretty romantic date night for any fellas reading this…
“Sakura at Sake no Hana” limited-edition menu items available in the bar and restaurant from 7th April to 19th May, Monday to Saturday. Sakura crystal bento box available at lunch; sakura cocktails and desserts available at lunch and dinner.
Guests at Sake no Hana at midday on Saturday 26th April will view the spectacle of “Kagami Biraki”, a time-honoured Japanese ceremony which entails the lid of a sake barrel being dramatically broken open by a wooden mallet before the sake is served in traditional cups. This will be accompanied by Japanese Taiko drummers with their captivating, high-energy, carnival-like performance.
23 St. James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HA
Reservations 0207 925 8988
Monday to Thursday: 12:00–3:00 pm, 6:00–11:00 pm
Friday: 12:00–3:00 pm, 6:00–11:30 pm
Saturday: 12:00–4:00 pm, 6:00–11:30 pm
Nearest station: Green Park (5 mins walk)
*We ate as guests of Sake no Hana, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.