At first, Sake No Hana opened as an exclusive eatery, serving a small number of customers and frequented largely by Japanese expats living in London. However, given that such operations usually aren’t all that well received by the British culinary critics, things changed a while ago. Now, Sake No Hana can best be understood as the Japanese answer to Hakkasan.
What that means is simple: The dining room is stylish, dark and trendy. The crowd it attracts is just as varied as that at Hakkasan: businessmen, couples and people about to hit one of the clubs in the vicinity, make up the lively mixture here, which adds to the cosmopolitan feel of Sake No Hana.
When it comes to the food, things, just like at Hakkasan, are not necessarily authentically Japanese. Whilst it is clear that the tenor of the cuisine here is Japanese, touches such as wasabi mayonnaise or sushi rolls with mango would probably be relatively difficult to find in Japan itself.
If you can accept that, you can eat very well here. Starting off with the sushi and sashimi, the stand out pieces are the chu-toro, which melts away and the uni. The latter is imported from the States, and has the beautiful creamy, sweetness that makes it one of the most addictive foodstuffs around. You either love or loathe this, but with anything in life that has character, this is usually a good thing.
The aforementioned wasabi mayonnaise is served with deep-fried oysters. These are delicious; nearly devoid of fat, perfectly crispy outside, and creamy inside. No less beautiful is tempura snow crab. Beautifully flavoured, the legs are delicate and sweet. On a different note is a salad of soft shell crab. Here, the crab is somewhat lost in a mountain of greens. If the ratio of crab (which is again perfectly fried) to salad were tilted in favour of the crab, this would be a delicious rendition of this fusion staple.
A strength of both Hakkasan and Yauatcha are the desserts. Unsurprisingly, they are just as good at Sake No Hana. A perfect example of this is a yuzu cake. The cake is beautifully balanced, with the citrus fruit giving enough freshness to not make it excessively heavy.
Sake No Hana is a restaurant that should not be assessed as a traditional Japanese restaurant. It serves fusion food that is done well, in a stylish atmosphere. It is the latter, combined with the delicious food that make it such an enjoyable restaurant.