If you’re looking for top-of-the-range Japanese food in London, Sake no Hana near Green Park tube station won’t disappoint. For just £47 each (or £39 if you’re vegetarian) on a Saturday, you can enjoy a seven course lunch along with a bottle of champagne and cocktails. Given how the food is absolutely fantastic, that is definitely a bargain. You can obviously have lunch or dinner at Sake no Hana pretty much any day, but if you’re looking for a different sort of dining experience, the Umai Sushi Saturday menu is perfect. It is traditional in Japan to enjoy a number of different dishes during a meal, often light and delicate dishes. Every mouthful should be savoured and there is no rush in eating.
Sake no Hana is a very classy restaurant with friendly and attentive staff. I went with my boyfriend just before the Christmas break as we were both celebrating new jobs and rounding off a pretty busy 2015. Our waiter wisely recommended we split our drinks up so we had our cocktails at the end with our dessert, meaning you don’t get too drunk at the beginning as there’s food lining your stomach by then. The Umai Sushi Saturday menu gets you a bottle of delicious Louis Roederer Premier NV champagne and a cocktail each – we went for a Mint Blossom (vodka, cucumber, lime and peppermint) and a Velvet Haiku (sake, velvet falernum, green tea, cucumber and prosecco).
The Umai Sushi Saturday starter consists of white miso soup with wild mushroom, and sesame spinach with cassava chips. Both dishes are light but full of flavour, as their purpose is primarily to whet your pallet. You then move on to the hassun three-dish set – fried aubergine with miso, tuna tartare with tobiko and sesame truffle oil, and fried prawns with wasabi mayo sauce. I could have spent the rest of the afternoon just eating endless supplies of these three dishes which, at the risk of sounding like a stuck record, were absolutely delicious. The tuna tartare was particularly divine – and we were still only on the third course by this point! You really do get a lot of food for your money with this special menu.
Of course, a Sushi Saturday menu has to have sushi on it! The fourth course is a generous plate of nigiri sushi – and right after the fantastic main course (more on that later) you get even more! The maki sushi platter really was the best I’d tasted in England: spicy salmon, crunchy tempura, and california crab all piled high atop each piece of sushi.
You can choose from a range of dishes for the main course but we knew we could only go with the sukiyaki topped with yuzu candy floss. This sizzling pot of beef is cooked at your table with a whip of yuzu-flavoured candy floss, which dissolves as soon as you pour soy over it to sweeten the sauce. What you end up with is tender sukiyaki beef strips served a delicious broth of mushroom, tofu and this unusual candy floss, along with a truffle and wild mushroom rice to accompany it.
Finally, the dessert! We chose the apple tarte tatin (with miso caramel, vanilla ice cream and apple puree) and mochi ice cream. I love apple desserts and the tarte tatin was fantastic – sweet and light and, of course, I could have had more! Next time I go to Sake no Hana, I’ll be having it again.
If you’re in the mood for celebrating – a birthday, anniversary or new job – the Umai Sushi Saturday menu is an absolute treat. The seven courses complement each other very well and, without exception, are absolutely delicious. Not to mention there’s plenty of booze to keep you going and it’s fantastic value.