I’ve done quite a few posts about cherry blossom this spring, but with the Spring Bank Holiday upon us, the sun shining and the cherry blossom giving way to lilac and rhododendrons , I’ve got a different kind of cherry blossom to tell you about – the pop-up cherry blossom menu at Sake no Hana.
Sake no Hana is a stylish but welcoming Japanese restaurant on St James’s Street. It’s part of the Hakkasan group which also owns the sophisticated Chinese restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha. I reviewed it a while back and liked it a lot so when the chance came to try the pop-up cherry blossom garden and special sakura menu in their downstairs bar I was keen to give it a go.
If you’ve walked down St James’s Street recently you’ve probably seen the great waft of cherry blossom outside the Sake no Hana entrance. It seems to be attracting a lot of attention – I practically had to join a queue to take a photo of it.
Inside it’s even more lovely. The whole bar is filled with artificial cherry blossom that gives it the feel of of a fantasy garden in the heart of London.
The sakura menu kicks off with two cherry blossom-themed cocktails. The Hanami Bellini is made from sparkling sake, Luxardo cherry liqueur, Heering cherry liqueur, lime and Tanqueray gin. And as an extra surprise there’s a whole cherry in the bottom of the glass.
But I preferred the Sakuratini, made from Maraschino cherry liqueur; sake, vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, lime and orange bitters with a few delicate flowers floating on top.
Lunch itself consisted of the crystal bento box served with white miso soup, which was offered as a starter but which we had with our meal, the Japanese way.
The first layer of the box contained seven-spice chicken kuwayaki and spring salad with sesame dressing.
The second layer offered chu-toro and salmon sashimi, (chu-toro is tuna, but richer than normal tuna flesh) which was delicate and flavourful, and a selection of salmon avocado, spicy tuna and California rolls, all of which tasted as good as they looked.
This was followed by a plate of cherry-chocolate dessert with fresh cherries, nashi pear, almonds and ginger, and cherry blossom tea ice-cream.
Then a bowl of cherry blossom macarons – vanilla macarons with cherry blossom tea ganache. Yes, they were delicious. We had them with a pot of cherry blossom tea.
The cherry blossom menu is available at Sake no Hana at lunchtime until 19th May. If you’re passing, it might be nice to pop in for just a cocktail and some macarons,or go for the full lunch which I can highly recommend.
We were guests of Hakkasan but the review is my honest opinion.