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Review

Sake No Hana

££££

There are a lot of ways to impress people. You could refer to everyone famous by their first name only. You could start every story with “this one time, when we were on set”. Or if you’re feeling really humble you can just perform the bend and snap with a wad of cash. None of the above are particularly subtle, but showing off rarely is. Such is the case with impressive, check-me-out Japanese spot, Sake No Hana.

There are a lot of things that will impress you here. When you first walk in you’ll see some tall orchids and two long escalators that lead you up to the restaurant itself. It’s all very stairway to heaven. If heaven is a flash restaurant with high ceilings, bamboo architecture and sleek, angular chairs. After that it might be the slabs of bright sashimi that catch your eye, or maybe even the chef blowtorching some nigiri over at the sushi counter. It doesn’t really matter, the whole room is basically one big, sophisticated hair flick, and whether you’re with a client or your mother, they’ll like what they see.

A big chunk of the menu here is taken up with big-ticket sushi and sashimi that definitely looks the part, but ranges from tasting excellent to tasting just okay. If we could invite the Zeeland yellowtail maki to be our connection on LinkedIn then we would, because this guy is a proper little powerhouse. On the other hand, when it comes to the salmon, well, we wouldn’t be too bothered if we lost their number. You’ll also find plenty of other things on the menu like king crab tempura (seriously tasty), some chargrilled Simmental sirloin (pretty decent), and winter truffle mushroom iron pot rice (sounds like the Starks’ cousins, tastes average). The good news is that if you follow our rundown, you will have some impressive food. The even better news is that even if you go off piste and end up with a menu dud, it’s amazing how enamoured grown adults can be with a functional escalator.

Really, if the extent of your ability to impress involves a Lush gift set and a reduced sticker, then Sake No Hana is a seriously useful restaurant. They have lunchtime bento boxes that are perfect for chatting business over, and a slick tasting menu that costs nearly £100 but is entirely worth it for the sake of getting to be a backseat driver, whilst everyone else feels deeply sophisticated over their wagyu beef. That’s exactly what you come to Sake No Hana for. You come here to eat some good Japanese food in a room that’s been designed for power struts, high cheekbones, and starting conversations with “this one time, on set”.

Food Rundown

Bento Box

This bento box is your friend. Especially if you’re in the midst of panic-booking your local steakhouse for a power lunch. Don’t expect eating this sushi to feel like you’ve met your salmon soulmate, but it is, for the most part, tasty.

Giulia Verdinelli
The Kaiseki Tasting Menu

This is how you do Sake No Hana. Their £98 set menu is basically the Top Of The Pops of this place’s menu. You’ll be served a lot of their greatest hits with dishes like the tempura, the chef’s choice of sushi and sashimi, the wagyu beef with garlic ponzu, Canadian black cod, and their signature desserts. If you also get involved in the beverage flight then your special occasion is totally sorted.

Giulia Verdinelli
Ebi Tempura

It is basically impossible to eat this tempura without sounding like you’re reciting the lyrics to Good As Hell in slow motion, whilst simultaneously making out with a prawn. This is some of the best tempura in London and we could write a thesis on the batter, but instead we’re just going to tell you to go and eat it.

Giulia Verdinelli
Koebi Salad

Eating this is sort of like being woken up from an exceptional nap by a Leslie Knope power-speech. The wasabi dressing is a big old energetic slap to the senses and combined with the prawns, it’s a proper winner.

Gunma Wagyu A5 Beef Maki

We liked this - special shoutout to the caramelised onion with kizami wasabi, keep doing you hun. Did we like it enough to spend £25? Not really, no.

Giulia Verdinelli
Spicy Maguro Maki

In case you didn’t get the memo, raw fish is pretty sexy. Dating power move #265: take someone to the sushi counter here, order some sake and kick things off with this spicy toro situation. It’s our favourite sushi roll here.

Akedashi Hirousu

A red miso soup with chunks of tofu that you’ll fish out between big hits of seaweed and chilli yuzu. If you want something light from the soup section, go ahead, get this.

Giulia Verdinelli
Winter Truffle Mushroom Iron Pot Rice

Another day, another somewhat mediocre truffle dish. The drama of having this iron pot appear at your table and get mixed by a somewhat anxious server is almost exciting, but taste wise it’s just not worth £22.

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