Saka no Hana

I said I would share with you a review about Saka no Hana in my Hakkasan blog entry. So here it is….

Saka no Hana is a high-end Japanese restaurants that is opened by Alan Yau. The creator of many well known restaurants such as Hakkasan, Yauatcha, Wagamama etc (although according to report some of these has now been sold off).

In any restaurants that has Alan Yau’s name tag to it then there will be many reviews of his creation. Saka no Hana is no different, I have come across many reviews about it. But as far I remember, the ones I have read about Saka no Hana, only one word come up with most review is ‘expensive’ for both food and drink.

I only decided to try Saka no Hana when friends told me TopTable had a 50% offer to dine there last November. Hearing the offer, I though it was a great opportunity to have a try of this place and present my view of this place.

The atmosphere of this place you cannot doubt that it is not beautiful. When you first walk through the automatic doors its reception was beautiful with the classy black atmosphere. We were taken up by one of the receptionist on an escalator to the main restaurant area. From classy black to bright wooden interior, it was vast contrast but it still kept a sleek look. On one side was the table with the floor mat seating – a traditional Japanese concept. Whereas, on the other side is ‘normal’ table which you can keep your shoes on.

Already laid out on the table was chopsticks on a unique stone. There was guys in suits (under-covered body guards maybe?) and ladies dressed in black – although, I remember seeing the same thing in Hakkasan. But you need some body-guards or bouncers around at these classy places. There was music playing the background which was at a good volume level that you can still hear the conversation on our table.

The menu was simple but it was different to the one that was shown on their website when I was looking at the time. There was some more exciting food in the menu on the website then the one I was looking at in the restaurant.

For appetisers we had:

  • Rock oysters with 3 kind of sauces – As it described, we got 3 rock oysters for £7 and each one had a different sauce on each one. We had no idea what was the different sauces but the one I had taste of sour lemon.
  • Tamago omelette slice with daikon – This was 8 pieces of warm blocks of omelette for £4.50, which we did not find special. It reminded us something similar to what we had in Hong Kong.
  • Seasonal mixed tempura – For £12 we got prawns, fish and vegetable tempura. This was disappointed from the first look of the tempura when it was placed on the table. I have seen and tried better tempura in London then the one we had at Saka no Hana.
  • For main we had:

  • Waguy beef with mustard sauce – This set us back £45 and it tasted like any other beef steak but as it was Waguy beef  it was a bit softer.
  • Grilled Salmon Teriyaki – This cost £11 but was beautifully cooked to a silky smooth salmon. The only thing I was not fond of was the seasoning f the salmon.
  • Black cod rice (a portion on the menu said enough for 3 person) – We ordered one bowl for £18 to share and to accompany our grilled dishes. This was rice with a black cod fish on top in a Korean sizzling stone rice bowl. The waitress crushed and mix everything in front of you to make a sort of fish fried rice.
  • After 2 courses we thought we give the desserts a try. This was very different to what was in the menu on the website. I was hoping to try the Shiso souffle with soya ice cream or the Matcha parfait or even a Sake tiramisu. But to my disappointment none was on there. The dessert menu we had to choose from was not at all exciting and being in a Japanese themed restaurants you would want something Japanese or a fusion Japanese dish – well at least one that had some Japanese inspiration, but instead it was all French.

    For dessert we had:

  • Creme brulee
  • Pear tart with lavender
  • Chocolate fondant
  • As like with the first 2 courses (appetisers and main), the presentation was an artwork but I could not find something WOW in the taste of the dishes. I am not sure if it was my high acceptation that gave me such a disappointment dining at Sake no hana. But for the price you pay, I really expected more from not just having food presented nicely but also have a taste with the WOW factor!

    Sadly, there are no photos to share with you about Saka no Hana. That is because it was no photo policy, so I would not advise to come here for a special occasion such as a birthday as you be disappointed that you cannot have photos to remember the special occasion. Well unless there is an exception of taking photos of people and not food. So with no photos, you will have to use your own imagination of what we ate!

    So as with most reviews I have read, I will agree that this place is expensive, even though with the 50% offer. There a many better Japanese or fusion Japanese place where money might be better spent. However, it was at least something to experience at least once!

    (Note that prices are quoted from the time I was dining there in November 2008)

    Saka no Hana
    23 St James’s Street,
    SW1A 1LP


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