Sakagura revisited – when I last visited Sakagura in March, the service was less than I expected although the food was very nice. My daughter loves sushi as you probably know, I want to take her to a wide range of Japanese restaurants not just the fine dining ones but to more authentic Japanese which are usually no frills and full of local Japanese people who are simply there to eat traditional Japanese as they would if dining at home. One such place we visited last year is Ohisama in Marylebone, it was cheap, very basic inside but the emphasis is on good quality authentic Japanese. We’ve also been to higher class restaurants such as her favourite Sake no Hana and to Aqua Kyoto. When I visited Sakagura in March, it was try their Bottomless Brunch with limitless champagne and wine, it was higher end Japanese for sure. Beautiful inside, very reminiscent of what I presume a Japanese home to be like, tatami rooms typically with slated beams of wood and opaque glass doors, the restaurant has this theme running through it. So obviously expectations were very high as we sat back to enjoy a couple of hours in lovely surroundings, to enjoy good food and the best bit for me, limitless champagne! my favourite tipple. We were however disappointed because not only did we have to wait 30 minutes for our drinks, they were never topped up while other diners were being fussed over, also, our food took forever to arrive. The food though was very delicious, I will be positive where I must, and it was top class. When I review a restaurant to feature it on the blog, I always want to be positive otherwise I’d rather not feature it at all, but I felt unhappy not to write about Sakagura because the food was so good, but I was torn because the service wasn’t. My blog is built upon honest and fair reviews and I write about stuff that I feel passionate about, if I feel a restaurant has failed to impress me, actually no, it’s not about impressing me like I am a bigshot food critic, far from it, I’m not but when I pay my money to eat somewhere especially if I’m going to be featuring it on the blog, I expect to be looked after just like everyone else and on that part, Sakagura failed.
I launched my post a few weeks ago and I mentioned on social media that Sakagura failed to live up to my expectations and I thought long and hard whether I should email the restaurant, in fact, they contacted me via direct mail on Twitter followed by an email from assistant Manager, Cristian Andries. Thereby followed several emails and apologies where I graciously accepted his invitation back to the restaurant to “put things right”. My daughter and I paid a visit on Saturday and we warmly greeted by Cristian and shown to our table, a cute booth with semi-length hessian blinds shielding us somewhat from the rest of the diners but I liked that, it was cosy. Cristian came over and offered us some drinks, I had a glass of champagne which was duly topped up by Cristian and Zoe had two mocktails throughout her lunch, the first one, a minty fruity concoction followed by the delicious Kyoto Garden.
Cristian sat down with us where we talked about what happened during our last visit, I explained everything but part of me can’t help but feel guilty because I’m not the type of person who likes complaining so I felt a bit uncomfortable discussing it and wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. I could see how genuinely sorry Cristian was on behalf of everyone in the restaurant and that was good enough for me. Cristian has daily meetings 15 minutes prior to lunch and dinner service where the emphasis is on looking after their clientele and of course the quality of the food. I think the day we visited which was very busy was just one of those unfortunate days which I’m sure happens in many restaurants not just at Sakagura. Cristian came across as a genuine, humble and friendly man and is clearly an excellent manager, he takes his job extremely seriously and it shows.
After our brief chat, I explained Zoe’s dietary requirements and he made sure she was looked after replacing the salmon sushi rolls and shashimi with tuna and white fish and nigiri in place of the chicken Karaage, she also had chicken instead of meat skewers. My post today isn’t a run down of the food because I’ve already talked about this in my previous post and I really don’t need to say again how wonderful the food is at Sakagura, it really is.
On Saturday, everything was perfect, we indulged in the freshest melt in the mouth shashimi, the crispiest tempura and the salad, well, I take back what I said last time, I think it’s an absolute necessity in the bento box because the dressing is simply divine elevating boring salad leaves to something quite different. The meat skewers were tender and juicy and of course the ice cream was something we were eagerly anticipating because it’s creamy deliciousness and unique flavours were stunning last time we were here. Cristian offered to serve us another fabulous dessert, his recommendation but we were content to have the ice cream.
Cristian and I had lengthy discussions about all sorts of things and I was delighted to hear all about his career and family and of course intrigued by his 8 years in Japan and his fluency in Japanese, what I consider to be one of the most difficult languages to master. We talked about how wasabi is made because Cristian assumed my daughter would find it too strong, but she loves it often adding too much to her sushi and I know this because of the tears running down her face! She has a good palate my daughter and loves to try different foods, so he brought a piece of wasabi to show us and explained how it’s turned into wasabi paste on a traditional Japanese shark or snake skin grater which is a labour of love to achieve.
Our lunch was coming to an end, we were totally full after a delicious Bottomless Brunch and copious glasses of champagne, I’ve called this post Sakagura revisited and I was more than happy to revisit. Suffice to say that my faith in Sakagura has most definitely been restored and Zoe’s too. I asked her if she would like to go back again and her reply was a resounding yes so that’s good enough for me. We were both so well looked after and made a fuss of and that’s what it’s all about, Cristian is a lovely charming man and I know and feel how much he cares for Sakagura and his love of the hospitality industry, yes, I would be absolutely delighted to return to Sakagaura again soon.
8 Heddon Street
020 3405 7230
Our lunch was complimentary, my views are my own.