Umai Sushi Saturday at Sake no Hana is fast becoming one of my favourite Saturday lunch spots. Whenever my sushi-loving daughter and I feel we need an extra special Japanese dining treat, we head to Sake no Hana. We’re both huge fans of this fantastic Japanese establishment having visited before and really enjoyed the Umai Sushi Saturday the last time we were here, so we knew we’d be in for a real treat. As with our last visit, it was my daughter’s birthday and I knew she’d want to eat at Sake no Hana again, there was no question about that so a couple of weeks ago after a short shopping trip, we made our way to Green Park – Sake no Hana is just behind The Ritz Hotel and Fortnum & Mason, such a perfect location.
Umai Sushi Saturday is Sake no Hana’s take on a bottomless brunch type idea which is being made popular by many London restaurants. There is a very generous 7 course menu with a cocktail to start and half a bottle of champagne per person, my daughter was offered 3 mocktails in all, a substitute for the champagne as she’s only 16, let me disclose a little secret, she’s had a mini glass of bubbly or two before….obviously at very special celebrations like birthdays and New Year’s Eve!
Sake no Hana is always full and has a real fun vibe, although it serves exquisite fine dining Japanese, pretentious it is not. I feel sure that mostly everyone is here to enjoy Umai Sushi Saturday and if you love sushi as much as we do, you just must put Sake no Hana on your list of restaurants to visit.
My daughter Zoe chose the Nihon Blue mocktail, a refreshing mix of blueberry, yuzu marmalade, rose and lemon.
What We Ate
I’m pretty sure the menu changes slightly but the concept is the same and we were both delighted to see the beef was still on the menu, it really is the highlight of the meal for us. We were given plenty of time to enjoy our cocktails before the food started to arrive, one by one, small plates of Japanese delights and first it was that delicious savoury broth, Shiro Misoshiru, a white miso soup with tofu skin, spring onion and seaweed.
I chose the Velvet Haiku Akashi – sake, Velvet Falernum, jasmine green tea, cucumber and prosecco served in a sake carafe, in all honesty, I wasn’t a real fan, it was a bit flavourless in my opinion but because I like Velvet Falernum liqueur, I thought I would try it however I really liked the cute carafe it was served in.
Next to arrive was the sesame spinach sprinkled with sesame seeds and cassava chips which Sake no Hana call Horenso Gomaae, Zoe and I both love spinach and despite Zoe’s tree nut allergy which thankfully isn’t severe, she can eat sesame which is a relief, in fact, she can eat pine nuts, almonds and peanuts and doesn’t need to carry an epi pen, we’re really lucky about that and for her too because she’s so adventurous with her food, it would be a shame if she couldn’t have any nuts at all.
Next up, a trio of the most delicious small bites, we’re both equally greedy so we could have devoured two of these. I couldn’t tell you which out of the three were our favourites but we both agreed if we had to choose, it would be the aubergine which was melt-in-the-mouth and so delicious lightly fried in saikyo miso and sesame sauce, also as part of the trio, tuna sashimi in an egg yolk and mustard sauce and prawn tempura with wasabi mayonnaise.
Meanwhile Zoe chose another Nihon Blue mocktail and I was served the first glass of my half bottle of Louis Roederer Premier NV Champagne, it’s always kept topped up by our lovely waiter. For Zoe especially, the highlight was coming up, she adores sushi so much so when the nigiri make an appearance, her eyes light up. As she’s allergic to salmon, so she has an extra tuna nigiri. The combination consists of fatty tuna, salmon, prawn and seabass served with plenty of wasabi and ginger, we both learnt our lesson during previous Japanese meals and so we are less generous with the wasabi!!
Sake no Hana have an impressive sushi bar designed by Japanese designer Kengo Kuma, the restaurant is flooded with natural light through linear bamboo blinds and cypress wood giving an authentic Japanese feel to the whole restaurant which is headed by talented chef Hideki Hiwatashi. His illustrious career began in Australia in 1994 eventually working under the guidance of acclaimed 3 Michelin starred chef Murata Yoshihiro in Kyoto before finally moving to Sake no Hana in 2010. His belief in using authentic fresh ingredients as he did in Japan clearly shows in his faultless cuisine here at Sake no Hana.
For us, the highlight of the whole meal was coming, I know we could have been more adventurous and tried another main but when you’ve been seduced the delicious Sukiyaki with Yuzu Candy Floss, it’s impossible to say no a second time.
Delicious slices of beef cooked at your table with a mix of onions, tofu and shitake mushrooms in a delicious gravy of gindara mirin with kanzuri miso. The way the candy floss melts once the gravy is poured over is magic, a couple of minutes later, it’s ready and when it’s served with the truffle and wild mushroom rice, its simply mind blowing.
As if all that wasn’t enough, we had a final course of maki sushi to arrive next, we weren’t complaining especially Zoe, you can see why Umai Sushi Saturdays is such good value for money.
A selection of snow crab and avocado, spicy tuna and white fish and shitake mushroom with takuan (pickled daikon radish) and cucumber, everything is delicious and expertly executed as with all our dishes.
While I came to my last glass of champagne, Zoe chose to have the Cherry Iced Tea mocktail which consisted of maraschino cherry, jasmine tea and lime. Finally, we were onto desserts and they’re just as impressive. We were recommended to try the white chocolate and mandarin bamboo on chocolate sesame “soil” which we had the last time and something different, the caramelised apple flan with crispy buttery flaky pastry, both desserts are delicious.
If I can make a recommendation myself, it would be for you to try the selection of ice creams because I remember from our last visit, Zoe was presented with a trio of unusual ice creams for her birthday which were sublime so I’m inclined to go for those next time…..Yes, there will be a next time for us because the Umai Sushi Saturdays represents all that we love about Japanese food and at £51 per person and very generous 7 courses, it’s great value for money and of course not forgetting the half bottle of champagne and cocktail per person, we can’t wait for our next visit.
Sake no Hana have different menus throughout the year including right now until the end of November, their innovative Autumn Leaves menu, head over to http://sakenohana.com/london
All photo’s, text, opinions are my own unless otherwise stated, featured image credit of Sake no Hana.
Sake No Hana
23 St James’s Street
020 7925 8988