A secret pop up garden in Mayfair, festooned in cherry blossom and serving the finest sushi in town washed down with cherry cocktails? Sound too good to be true? Grazia’s Emily Maddick discovered – until May 19th - it actually isn’t.
Ah spring-time. It really truly does put a spring in your step, doesn’t it? The longer nights, the hope of sunny times ahead and of course all of the pretty nature popping up all over the place. And the finest and most beautiful of all this pretty nature? It has to be the pretty pink and white blossom. Now over in Japan, their cherry blossom spring season is so famous and beautiful that they have an ancient tradition that celebrates the transient season called ‘sakura’ and ‘hanami’. Over here in Blighty our blossom isn’t quite so magnificent, (it tries) but our sushi chefs in central London could certainly give their Japanese rivals a run for their money. Which is why I urge you to pop down to Sakura at Sake No Hana in St. James’ street in Mayfair.
The restaurant, which is part of the Hakkasan Group (oh how we love Hakkasan), has created a magical pop-up cherry blossom garden to celebrate the glorious cherry blossom season. Sakura at Sake No Hana really is a magical wonderland. And it’s so PINK! This is perhaps the perfect location for girls’ night out/lunch or indeed – as mine was - a girl and gay best friend night out, as it really is so very pretty and pink. The cherry blossom is everywhere: on the roof, on the tables, on the windows, in sweet smelling Jo Malone scented candles, and even in the cocktails....
And as part of the special pop-up cherry-themed menu, they have of course created two cherry-tastic cocktails. Hanami Bellini Cocktail – Prosecco, Luxardo cherry liqueur, Heering cherry liqueur, sake, lime, Tanquary gin (£10). Despite my love of anything bubbly, I found this one a bit overwhelming. But there was a cherry at the bottom (not on the top!) which was fun. I much preferred the Sakuratini Cocktail – Maraschino cherry liqueur; sake, vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, lime, orange bitters. (£10). Lethal. Took my sobriety cherry that night, that’s for sure.
And the Sakuratini Cocktail was perfect to accompany the specially made Sakura Crystal Double-Layer Bento Box (£28). Delicious. And almost too beautiful to eat. Served with a Miso Soup starter (and it was a particularly meaty miso soup starter) the first layer of the box had a yummy and tender Seven-spice Chicken Kuwayaki and Spring Salad with Sesame Dressing. The sauce was almost like caramel, which added to the sweet cherry vibe. And then, the sushi. What mighty fine sushi. Salmon Avocado, Spicy Tuna and California rolls and Chu-toro and Salmon Sashimi. We had that wonderful feeling of being completely satisfied without feeling too full. We finished the whole cherry-tastic dinner off with the cute Cherry Blossom Vanilla Macaroons with Cherry Blossom Tea Ganache (£1.60 each or 5 for £7).
Sadly, like the beautiful cherry blossom, this secret magical garden of cherry fizz and sushi paradise, is like the beautiful blossom, a fleeting wonder. So grab your girlfriend, hit the shops, go for lunch, then spend the afternoon wandering around St. James’ park admiring the blossoms. As long as there isn’t an April shower. And if there is, head back to Sakura at Sake No Hana’ and have another cocktail.
Sakura at Sake No Hana’s limited edition menu is available in the bar and restaurant until 19th May, Monday to Saturday.
Sakura at Sake no Hana, 23 St. James’s Street, London SW1A 1HA. Click here for more details.