Now I’ve completed my dream trip to South Africa, where’s next on my bucket list?
Now don’t tell Mr S but sometimes I spend my time putting together intricate itineraries of places I’d like to visit…these itineraries contain all my big and little dreams that I’d one day like to tick off my bucket list. One of those dreams is to visit Japan; I want to eat sushi in Toyko, see Buddhist temples in Kyoto and maybe even spy a Geisha in Gion. I’d also love to visit Hakone Park which is apparently one of the best places to see Japan’s famous ‘sakura’ cherry blossom and the ever-changing colours of the cherry trees.
Now fortunately for Mr S’s wallet, we don’t need to go all the way to Japan to eat sushi and admire cherry blossoms. I could do it right here in London at one of my favourite restaurants, Sake No Hana in St James.
The restaurant owned by Hakkasan Group has been adorned with gorgeous pink and white blooms and the bar has been transformed into a cherry blossom garden with Floris Cherry Blossom scent wafting through. When I walked in I was immediately struck by how gorgeous the restaurant looked, and I felt uplifted by the beautiful flowers. Winter is well and truly over and it’s spring time!
Earlier in the year I very much enjoyed the Umai Brunch at Sake No Hana, and I was excited to come back and try the Sakura set menu with Lauren and little Beatrice.
The carafe contained jinzu gin infused with yuzu and cherry blossom which was cut through with green chartreuse, grapefruit juice, shiso and burlesque bitters. I was instructed to drink two glasses of this concoction from the coupe glass. The next step was to sweeten the cocktail by adding the contents of the miniature jug which contained belsazar rose, vermouth, maraschino cherry, cranberry and lemon juice.
I adored this cocktail as it hit the perfect notes of sweet and bitter flavours that Japanese cocktails often do. The cocktail was especially created for the Sakura celebration and it represents the passage into spring. Eder, the head mixologist at Sake No Hana, intends the first cocktail to be crisp and herbal as it represents the beginning of spring when flowers are trying to bloom. The second part represents the blooming of the Sakura season and completely changes the drink with an injection of vibrancy.
I love how a Japanese meal often includes a bowl of white miso soup which I find so light and tasty. We also received sesame spinach with cassava chips before our main bento box; I’ve mentioned before I’m not a fan of the nutty flavour of this dish, but everyone else loves it so clearly I’m on my own on this one 😉
Now, apparently the sakura flowers bloom very fleetingly from the end of March until early May and Hanami, or flower viewing, is the traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the transient beauty of the blooms. Sake No Hana will be celebrating the custom of Hanami until the 20th of June, and I would definitely recommend to get down there quickly as the sushi is some of the best in London.
Included in the bento box were three different types of sashimi including kuro kampachi, salmon and seabream. The nigri were three different varieties of tuna ranging from fatty to lean and the maki included spicy tuna, salmon avocado and California maki. You really can rely on Sake No Hana to served the very best quality fish, finest rice and just perfect flavours.
Even little Bea was mesmerised by our jewellery box of delights.
The Sakura cotton cheesecake, made with fresh cherries, cream cheese and cherry sorbet was light as feather. A bit like mousse, it was like eating cherry flavoured air but in a really, really good way!
After my macarons and mews tour, I am an expert on the French fancy and I can safely say this vanilla macaron with cherry blossom and tea ganache was one of the best in London. And trust me I’ve got many to compare it to…
The beautiful yet transient cherry blossoms actually symbolise something rather serious, and that is the impermanence of things and our own mortality. Life is short but seize the day and live every moment to the fullest. And with that final thought, I’m off to book flights to Japan next year to see the real cherry blossom trees*…
The cherry blossom garden and the limited edition Sakura menu are available until the 20th June priced at £32 with dessert as an optional extra. Guests are encouraged to Instagram photos of blossoms and use the hashtag #Sakura2015 to be in with a chance of winning Sakura gifts
Sake No Hana
23 St. James Street
*Don’t worry Mr S…only joking…
My lunch at Sakura was complimentary but my thoughts and opinions are my own