Reena Patel savours the Japanese flavours of Spring at London’s Sake No Hana
Spring has truly sprung at London’s Sake No Hana, where luscious cherry blossom trees shroud the Japanese Mayfair restaurant’s buzzy bar to celebrate its new seasonal Sakura menu.
The special Sakura takeover is inspired by the ancient Japanese custom of enjoying the passing beauty of the sakura cherry blossom season and ‘hanami’ – by feasting on sake and sushi under the trees. Each blossom tree is in bloom for just a few weeks, as the season travels northwards over Japan throughout April and May. This beautiful cherry blossom garden is also delicately perfumed with the floral scent of Cherry Blossom by fragrance brand Floris to boost the sensory dining experience.
Enthralled as soon as we walked through the decorative entrance of Sake No Hana, we sat on high bar stools to be enveloped in the blooms and branches that intertwine the bamboo walls and recreate the ethereal beauty of a secret garden.
The theatre continues with a potion called the Violet Risshun Cocktail – a two-part tipple with a carafe, miniature jug and delicate coupette glass. Risshun represents the start of spring in the Japanese calendar and so, we clinked glasses to sip on the first concoction, which contains Jinzu gin, green chartreuse, grapefruit and lemon juice, shiso syrup and Burlesque bitters. The other jug is filled with a sweet-sharp blend of Belsazar rose vermouth, maraschino cherry, cranberry and lemon juice, with the glass sprayed with a violet mist. After a glass of cocktail from the carafe to cleanse the palate, the two drinks are mixed in varying parts to create a second and third refreshing cocktail to enjoy during the meal.
The Sakura Gozen then arrived to our table – a soul-warming white miso soup starter and cold sesame spinach with crunchy cassava chips. We found the best bites to be in the light and healthy bento box, which are artistically presented in a carved wooden box and contains sashimi (kuro-kanpachi, salmon and sea bream), nigiri (o-toro, chu-toro and akami) and maki rolls (spicy tuna, salmon avocado and crunchy California).
To complete our meal at Sake No Hana, we were served with a hot pot of bittersweet, floral Sakura Tea, made from the leaves of cherry blossom trees and the Sakura Cotton Cheesecake – a popular dessert in Japan, where the baked cheesecake is plated with fresh cherries, cream cheese and cherry sorbet.
For those who are still craving something sweet, there are also the cherry blossom macarons – vanilla macarons with cherry blossom tea ganache to finish off your Sakura menu.
The Sake No Hana Sakura menu is available until 20th June 2015. https://hakkasangroup.com/sakenohana/london/