By Tiffany Lo – A restaurant profile review for Nee Hao Magazine
As we walked down the bustling dining destination of Heddon Street in Mayfair, London, I was immediately attracted to the mesmeric display of Japanese sake at Sakagura.
Sakagura is a Japanese restaurant which opened last November, bringing the district of Mayfair, London, a unique washoku dining experience. The menu ranges from everyday dishes to full course seasonal tasting menus – from seafood to meats, sashimi to sushi, whisky, beer, to sparkling sake.
I was welcomed by the staff at the door with a big warm smile. When I was just about to sit down, she said: ‘いらっしゃいませ’ (irashaimase – welcome, in Japanese), which was a sweet touch. With the friendly welcome, the authentic Japanese vibe of the restaurant and the relaxing atmosphere, I knew the night ahead would be enjoyable. To start off proceedings we had a Furano Fields & Okinawan Dragon, freshly made from the bar.
We ordered an Aburi shine saba sushi (Rating: 3/5) and Sashimi moriawase (Rating: 3.5/5) as appetisers; Wagyu beef aburi steak (Rating: 3/5), Lobster (Rating: 4/5), and Chicken and gobo (Rating: 5/5) as main courses; Matcha fondant gateau (Rating: 3.5/5) and Raindrop cake (Rating: 4/5) as desserts.
The sashimi was specially selected by the chief in sashimi moriawase and was presented artfully and neatly in a big Japanese bowl filled with ice. Some of which were even made into the shape of a carefully crafted flower, which enhanced the visual experience of the appetiser. The mackerel was savoury and flavoursome; the freshness of the madai was a surprise; the salmon was succulent and acceptable.
However, the tuna, among the six different sashimi, was definitely SPOT ON: The colour of the tuna showed its freshness and tenderness. I could even guarantee its sweetness just by looking at it. Then, when I put the tuna in my mouth, the tuna dissolved upon contact with my tongue.
This was all accompanied by the freshly ground wasabi and ginger which brought the taste of the sashimi to its maximum. If I need to select a sake pairing for this dish, I would choose Gekkeikan “denshou” (月桂冠) – an award winning sake at Sake Competition 2014 – that has a fresh floral aroma. The sake is easy, clean, smooth, and refreshing. Most importantly, the taste of the sake will not take away the taste of the fish.
– the highlight of the night – was just tantalisingly delicious!
The dish is a seasonal flavoured rice, cooked to order in a cast iron pot. The rice complemented beautifully to the the shine of the chicken (you have to see it to understand). When the wooden lid was taken away from the pot, the rich aromas of the mushrooms hit straight into our senses. It tasted just how we smelt it- mushroomy and with a hint of miso flavour. The rice was cooked neither too hard, nor too soft. It was moist, aromatic, and full-flavoured. The overall experience of this dish was comparable to the bamboo rice I had in Kurobe, which I thought – at the time – was near perfect. This is a dish that should not be missed! The dish goes well with Koshoku souzen – a 10 years aged sake. Its flavour was quite strong and reminded me of whiskey (and some may like it or not like it for that reason).
Our feast was pleasingly finished by the matcha fondant gateau and raindrop cake (a clear agar umeshu jelly that has soaked itself in liqueur). We had it paired with choya (plum wine) and yuzu umeshu (citrus wine) respectively. The plum wine is a little too sweet for my taste. It could be a good dessert wine on its own. I would not choose to pair it with anything else. To compare the two desserts I had tonight, I have to say, I visually and tastefully enjoyed the raindrop cake more, though the matcha one is not bad at all!
A little tip for your visit – ask staff for sake pairings to your selected dishes. Their sake selections are wonderful, but to pair it with your food will delightfully heighten your heavenly experience of what you have ordered.