Sake No Hana 22

23 St James's Street , London, SW1A 1HA

020 7925 8988

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SquareMeal Review of Sake No Hana

It might feel like being trapped inside a panda’s lunchbox, but beyond the swathes of cypress and bamboo there’s plenty to divert customers at “trendy” Sake No Hana. Perennially popular, it offers a vast menu that straddles the Japanese canon (and beyond), combined with a “superb atmosphere” and just enough pizzazz to make it all feel special at the price. The repertoire repays close attention. Start, perhaps, with colourful seared sushi or the umami riot of seared rib-eye beef with sesame dressing, before moving on to iron-pot rice topped with truffle and wild mushrooms or mirin-marinated black cod with yuzu, chilli and miso. A menu of this magnitude might expose weaknesses in lesser kitchens, but here the chefs are obviously well-drilled – especially when it comes to intricate desserts such as matcha pannacotta with mango sorbet. Saké classes, whisky and chocolate flights and a boozy Saturday lunch all help to maintain interest. “Excellent, as ever”, confirms one regular.

Special offers

Umai Sushi Saturday: 7 courses & cocktail + half bottle champagne: £49

7 courses Saturday lunch with complimentary cocktail & half bottle champagne for £49 per person. Vegetarian option available at £42.

From: 31 August 2017

To: 25 March 2018

Max: 7

Maximum of 10 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service.

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7.8

Food & Drink: 7.9

Service: 7.8

Atmosphere: 7.3

Value: 6.1

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Anthea C. 14 January 2016

Excellent, as ever.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Agnieszka T. 11 October 2015

Three of us went for a dinner to try London Restaurant Festival menu. Restaurant is beautiful with a very nice atmosphere. Table is booked for two hours which is enough to enjoy 5 course menu. Unfortunately the service is too annoying and rushed, cleaning the tables the second you put your chop sticks down, literally. Our meal was served with speed you would expect at McDonald's. First three courses arrived within 2 mins from each other making the whole experience very rushed. Once mentioned to the waiter we would like slower service unpleasant look was given. It's a shame as food was very tasty but too "attentive" service ruined the evening. It may be because that menu is very popular but regardless if the table allocation is for 2 hours they should serve food more spaced apart.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Isobel B. bronze reviewer 29 September 2015

I have only been here or booked this restaurant for others for lunches but it's a great choice for a smart Japanese restaurant in Mayfair. The food is delicious and exquisitely presented and I have always had 5 star feedback when I have sent anyone here. It's not the cheapest venue, but that's not what you want from a Japanese place and I would say it's definitely on a par with Nobu for quality. The service is impeccable and although it's not the cosiest restaurant, it's perfect for a business lunch where you need to have a more private conversation. I highly recommend it.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 16 July 2015

If someone said ‘here is a fat dollop of cash, now go and design a restaurant’, what you may get is Sake No Hana. Of course, just because it looks good, doesn’t mean that it is good. This was our impression anyway, after a recent weekday lunchtime visit. You also can’t get away from the fact that however swanky the interior may be and however enjoyable the views over sedate St James’ are, the restaurant is still located in the ugly monstrosity that is The Economist building. On entering and having been greeted by the default smiling pretty front-of-house, diners are expected to mount an escalator to enter the main dining room. I guess this is to heighten the sense of anticipation. Unfortunately, as my host pointed out, the said escalator was out of service (as was the lift), perhaps creating something of an anti-climax, at least for me. After this futuristic commencement of events, one cannot help but be wowed by the dining room, a beautiful space of light, curves and bamboo. Even if not quite the ‘futuristic forest’ promised by the website, the room still impressed. It was a pity that the food and service did notably less so. We opted for the set lunch menu, arguably the best (relative) value item, at a mere £29/head. Beyond the excellent presentation of all dishes, there were certainly some flashes of culinary brilliance such as the white noodles accompanying the prawn tempura and also the spicy salmon sushi, but there were too dishes of a decidedly average nature (such as the Miso soup). Meanwhile portion sizes were stingy across the board. The promised pickled courgette that was allegedly supposed to accompany my main comprised but two slithers, just to cite one example. Moreover, when it came to service, it varied between being rushed – with plates cleared almost before we had put down our chopsticks – to enduring lengthy and tedious pauses with no explanation between dishes. We were also brought (and charged for) a second bottle of water despite not having requested it. The place seemed busy and my comrade informed me it gets even busier in the evenings so clearly Sake No Hana must be doing something right. Maybe people just come for the atmosphere; certainly there are many other places to get better (and cheaper) Japanese food in London

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

rachel m. 21 December 2014

Maybe it's because we just moved back to England from California and have been used to excellent Sushi and Sashimi or maybe it's just because Sake No Hana isn't that great at all. The room was pleasant the the service good but we could easily have eaten fresher and more imaginative food at any sushi joint in any US strip mall so we were massively disappointed with the offering at a restaurant which is part of such a reputable group such as Hakkasan. Difficult to pinpoint particular flaws since the whole meal was disappointing and definitely impossible to pick a highlight. Just fell way way below expectations especially for the price - £350 for 2 adults and 2 children (and that only included three alcoholic drinks WOW??).

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 1.0

Grant H. 15 August 2014

Great atmosphere. Lovely food. Delicious in fact. But £16.50 for two TINY (!) pieces of sea bass – is insane. We're talking two mouth-fulls. We had 5 TINY dishes consisting of 2 pieces of sashimi each and a bottle of good wine which was well priced at £40. The bill came to £140!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Alejandro E. 04 March 2014

It is my second time to Sake No Hana. The food is superb and it also looks great. Service is very good too and the waiters and people all know what they are serving, although a bit in a rush when they explain the different dishes. We ordered their most expensive menu for two and it was all immaculate, except that when they brought the dessert, there were not two pieces of each flavour for each diner. I asked the waiter and maître, and I was told that the chefs do it that way as to I don't know what… Very simply put, for every dish and logically there were at least two small portions of the same as to both try all of it. Except with the ice-cream on the dessert. Now, when we asked the maître why, he really could not give a logical explanation except that it looked like that is the way the chef wanted it to be… Normally in every other place they would have brought you two small balls of ice cream and that was it (about 2 centimetres in diameter… that would have kept the customer happy.. but NO.. they decided that to save one pound in ice cream, they were ready to annoy a client… By telling him that next time we were in they would do it as we thought it should be… no commercial sense whatsoever… In a nutshell, food is great, service is good, but commercial reason to keep a client coming back is not there. Flamboyantly and proudly useless policy… coz now, I will not come back to spend 65 or 69 quid on a superb menu, that when asked to change one bit, I would need to wait for the next time to get it… Good luck to them. Stubbornness is not good for business…

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Richard r. 05 December 2013

Booked for 2 for a birthday. The food was excellent and the service was very attentive. Cocktails are fun. Prawn tempura and black cod – some of the best I have had. Did not make it to desert due to poor atmosphere

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Francesco d. 21 October 2013

It was nice to see that the menu is no longer as eye-wateringly expensive as I had remembered it. Other customers were for the most part having business lunches, but not corporate, so it felt less stuffy. Food was excellent as always.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Yvonne T. 08 October 2013

From arrival to departure and everything in between, Sake No Hana never failed to impress. Entering up a shoulder wide escalator from the reception area of one friendly lady in a booth, you arrive a level up in the dimly lit, calming surroundings of the restaurant which bends in an L shape. The chefs are also in plain view going about their artistic endeavours which I loved. I started with the "Coupette No. 3″ cocktail which is amazing and was a good indication of how the night would go. We had a mix of starters, salad, sushimi and tempura and it was the perfect choice to sample a little of everything the restaurant has to offer. The service is excellent and there is always someone there when you need them mixed with the right amount of privacy when you don't. We also had great warm sake and some delicious desserts and eventhough full, I still felt relatively healthy! The entrance and exit works in a one way system so just follow the restaurant around to your exit escalator and you're back on ground level and chatting about what a great dinner you just had! Enjoy!

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Special offers

Umai Sushi Saturday: 7 courses & cocktail + half bottle champagne: £49

From: 31 August 2017

To: 25 March 2018

Max: 7

Maximum of 10 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service.