All too often it seems we cram Saturday with catching up on all the things we forget to do during the week, you know like paying the bills, getting the groceries, doing your washing (no you can’t wear that jumper three times in a row) that sort of thing. So Sake no Hana by Hakkasan are reclaiming Saturday afternoons with their new five course, Umai lunch menu.
And with that in mind we cancelled our plans and headed over to St James Street to take a look. Heading up the escalators we were met with a loud, bustling restaurant, a good sign of its popularity, but not the most relaxing. Nevertheless we took our seats and waited for the meal to begin.
The menu (priced at £37) is devised by Head Chef Hideki Hiwatashi and includes a bottle of sparkling sake and normal sake, although the latter was rather like a sickly dessert wine. It starts with light white miso soup and sesame spinach with cassava chips, before a small eat to share – we chose the sea bass sashimi but you could also have had beef. Sushi rolls are up next, they don’t want to serve them too early so that you don’t eat them all and get too full on rice, they seem to know us too well. That said it still is a generous portion you get 9 rolls each, made up of salmon maki, spicy tuna maki and vegetable tempura and surprisingly it was the vegetable tempura that stood out as having the most flavour.
For the main course if you feel like sharing you can go for the sliced rib-eye beef served with tofu, vegetables, mushrooms and topped with candyfloss no less. It certainly looked impressive and we saw numerous tables order it. We however weren’t in a sharing mood so went for flaky salmon and the vegetable and prawn tempura which was some of the best we had had, it was kept very simple served with white and green asparagus.
We finished off with rich, caramel-y tarte tatin and a fragrant panna cotta which was beautifully presented with flowers and dried raspberries, it was in fact our favourite part of the meal.
The waiters were very hospitable and accommodating, if a little slow. Admittedly this lunch is about taking your time and the restaurant was busy but when there is a gap of over ten minutes between each person getting their main on the table, you’re left feeling more agitated than calm and with a plate of cold food. Not ideal.
That said it is good value for money- it is one way to experience Sake no Hana in a more affordable way than in the evening and we were there for over two hours so they did reclaim our afternoon. The chores can wait.