The Japanese tradition of old drinking houses known as Izakayas meets the chic private dining set up at Sakagura; a covetable sake cellar and restaurant on London’s famous Heddon Street. Having recently been on a trip to Kyoto, I was excited to try out the new winter menu, curated by Executive Chef, Kanji Furukawa, and of course, the sake wine.
Stepping into Sakagura, we were immediately greeted with genuine Japanese hospitality, a defining pillar of tradition and exactly reminiscent of authentic Japan, not just a typical Japan-themed restaurant. We were seated in a private booth, covered with a curtain – all the luxury without feeling pretentious and perfect for a date or a small group. It’s a speak-easy and intimate setting with traditional touches to the sleek, modern interior.
To begin, the sommelier and mixologist offered us cocktails from the extensive menu, where we decided on a Cedroni and a Furano Fields. A Japanese twist on the Negroni, the Cedroni was mixed with Taruzake, Campari and a secret ingredient, perfect if aromatic and herby cocktails are your thing. If it’s something more fruity, the Furano Fields is a burst of tangy flavour and florals, mixed with jinzu gin, apricot brandy and passion fruit.
If there is one thing that you have to order from the new menu, it’s the seabass carpaccio; the waiter’s recommendation seriously impressed. The freshest slices of seabass sashimi served in a plum ponzu marinade was by far the best on the menu. Like tapas, each small dish comes after the next, in a delightful stream of different flavours and textures.
Next was the king prawn and soft shell crab tempura. It was light and crispy and made even more delicious with the salted matcha powder to season – a guaranteed favourite. With the rising popularity of poke bowls (dismantled sushi in a bowl) the salmon poke bowl with sushi rice, dressed in Amadare sweet soy sauce was fresh but filling and great to share between two. Japanese cuisine wouldn’t be complete without premium quality meat; the final dish to arrive was the Yakitori charcoal skewers served in Teriyaki sauce, and lots of it.
The meal was finished with a second carafe of the Denshou sake wine, 400 years old from Kyoto. It was clean, lean, crisp and dry. For sake first-timers or even those who think they don’t like it, this will change your mind.
Besides premium ingredients and uniquely balanced flavours, it’s attention to detail and gastronomic precision that makes authentic Japanese food. Sakagura has mastered this and perfectly incorporates Japanese delicacies into London’s fine-dining scene, making it the most ideal setting for an intimate date, unique cocktails, and sashimi to remember.
For bookings –
Phone: 020 3405 7230
Address – 8 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BS