Sake no Hana recreates springtime Japan with a bit of help from its ‘sakura’ cherry blossoms.
When the blooms come out at Sake no Hana, it can only mean one thing – the turn of ‘hanami’ where picnicking is enjoyed under flowering but fleeting cherry blossom trees to see in spring in full glory.
Under a canopy of white and pink blossoms with a grass carpet underfoot and projection of falling petals above the bar, the scene is beautifully set for the bar’s limited edition spring sakura menu.
And what a way to begin, as the cocktail brings with it a multisensory experience. A mix of gin, yuzu sake, cherry liqueur, grapefruit juice and agave is guaranteed to please sweet-toothed drinkers. But then the three curious atomisers that accompany the drink up the ante. In the first instance, dousing these onto your wrists would be a great waste so do refrain as an alcohol base of vodka tells you all you need to know. There’s a fitting cherry and cinnamon fragrance, a delicate elderflower and jasmine concoction and a violet spray. Alternate between spritzing around your drink with the atomisers before you sip to enhance the taste. Our favourite is the violet infusion which adds a retro and sherbety, Swizzle sweet note to the drink.
The meal eases you in gently with a warming and not too salty miso soup before the showpiece bento boxes arrive, one presenting a vibrant selection of sushi and akami, yellowtail tuna and salmon sashimi, and the second featuring a choice of misoyaki-glazed salmon, chicken sumiyaki or vegetarian yasai katsu. Our favourite is the salmon – the glaze keeps it sweet on the outside and tender on the inside and the egg mustard sauce that accompanies it makes for a chin-drippingly perfect dip. The charcoal grilled sumiyaki chicken is just as succulent and the pepper and sesame shichimi sauce provides just enough spice to excite the taste buds.
Dessert fiends will find comfort in the main dessert offering – a cherry bonanza of cherry chocolate mousse and cherry sake mousse domes, along with a cherry sorbet and tiny cubes of sake jelly. It’s sweet but light, so perfectly tempting even for those who would otherwise forego the pleasure. But if a few nibbles is all you can manage, order the cherry blossom tea (jasmine tea infused with cherry blossoms) and a couple of the crumbly but rich cherry blossom tea ganache macarons to go with. The tangy cherry flavour that comes through ensures that you finish on a high note.
The Sakura menu costs £34 per person and is available for lunch and dinner until 18 June 2016.
Sake no Hana. 23 St. James’s Street, London SW1A 1HA. T: 020 7925 8988