Cherry blossoms are one of my favourite reasons to love spring. So when I was invited to try another season of Sakura at Sake no Hana, I leapt at the chance.
Sakura at Sake no Hana

If my visit last year was anything to go by, this was an opportunity to enjoy dining in a beautiful environment whilst tasting an inspired menu. I knew I couldn’t miss it.Sakura at Sake no Hana

Sakura means cherry blossom so until June 20th, Sake no Hana has been transformed into a gorgeous cherry blossom garden. And during this time, a limited edition Sakura menu allows diners to enjoy dishes and cocktails inspired by cherry blossoms. Doesn’t this sound heavenly?Sakura at Sake no Hana

Our meal started off with the Violet Risshun, which is a gin-based cocktail of two parts to represent the start of spring as well as the period when the season is in full bloom. Sipping this cocktail was effortless. It was both smooth and refreshing. I loved it.Sakura at Sake no Hana

Fiona and I then had a bowl of white miso soup each …

Sakura at Sake no Hana

… followed by a dish of sesame spinach with cassava chips … Sakura at Sake no Hana

… whilst the bento box included a range of sashimi, nigiri and maki.

Sakura at Sake no Hana

Like the signature Sakura cocktail, dessert came in two parts:  Cotton Cheesecake with cherries, cream cheese and cherry sorbet …  

Sakura at Sake no Hana

… followed by Cherry Blossom macarons, which I enjoyed with a flat white. There is cherry tea on the menu too, which I have tried before and which I remember enjoying.

Sakura at Sake no Hana

But the reason why I ordered the coffee is because I wanted to see if Sake no Hana’s coffees were as good as their cocktails. Good coffee in London still feels like a novelty so I was happy when my flat white arrived tasting rich in flavour and feeling velvety as I sipped it.

Sakura at Sake no Hana

If you are in the St. James area and are in the mood for spring then I recommend Sakura at Sake no Hana. Sake no Hana’s cocktails are consistently very good and I have always enjoyed eating here!

Chelsea Girl

There is something about Japanese food that makes it ideal for a girly catch-up. Whether it’s for lunch or supper, it feels quite symbolic to share plates whilst sharing news, secrets and the latest in box sets/TV downloads of which I have so much to catch up on.

Last week I was invited to lunch at Sake No Hana where time stood still for a couple of hours and along with two other fabulous women, Alix and Joudie, I had the most delicious and fun time.

Sake No Hana

Saka No Hana is part of the Hakkasan restaurant group, so you can imagine the quality of the ingredients and the style in which they are prepared are very carefully considered.

And don’t you find that when the food is that good and the conversation is flowing, you can just keep on talking and eating as the plates keep on arriving? You’re not limited to three courses to punctuate the conversation. The afternoon or evening can just roll on.Sake No Hana

By the time our final platters had arrived, we were all satisfied yet ready for more. And because I enjoyed everything so much, it’s difficult to highlight my favourite dishes of the afternoon. If I were to think about it carefully, I would say the beautifully fresh sashimi, the sesame spinach with cassava chips and the sushi with the pear centre have stuck with me. But then again, if I think again so have the lobster tempura and sesame fried aubergine with fig.
Sake No HanaI’m planning on returning to Sake No Hana quite soon for Sakura at Sake No Hana, which I can’t wait for. From April 20th until 20th June, Sake No Hana will be alive with cherry blossoms. I wrote a post about it last year, which you can read here. Doesn’t it all look so beautiful? Their special menu is fantastic too.

Sake no Hana, 23 St. James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HA

Chelsea Girl

Cherry blossoms have to be one of my favourite things about springtime. As soon as they’re out, the streets and parks of London are in bloom with pretty pink and white flowers that always make me look up rather than down and around.

So when I learned about Sakura at Sake no Hana, I jumped at the chance to review its intriguing cherry-blossom infused menu and discover its glorious pop-up garden, both of which run until May 19th.

Sakura at Sake no Hana

As I approached one of the front doors, I could hear passersby comment on Sake no Hana’s beauty.

Sakura at Sake no HanaSakura means cherry blossom and Sake no Hana does not shy away from giving its customers an exceptional springtime dining experience.

Here, take a look …

Sakura at Sake no Hana

Sakura at Sake no Hana

Sakura at Sake no Hana

Sake no Hana

Isn’t it just beautiful?

As for the menu, it is no surprise that this was going to be another delectable experience from Sake no Hana which belongs to the Hakkasan group.

Lunch started off with a pot of tea made from the leaves of cherry blossom trees, before we moved swiftly onto cocktails (yes, cocktails at lunchtime – what a delight!). 

I had the Hanami Bellini Cocktail, which included sparkling sake, Luxardo cherry liqueur, Heering cherry liqueur, lime and Tanqueray gin. 

Sakura at Sake no Hana

This cocktail was quite a surprise. It wasn’t as sweet as I imagined it would be. In fact, it had a depth of flavour that made me want to savour each sip. It was gorgeous and I’m going to try and have one more before the pop-up ends.

Fellow blogger Mrs. O. Around The World who writes one of my favourite travel blogs opted for a Hakka. If you know Ana, you’ll not be surprised because the Hakka is one of Mrs. O’s favourite cocktails.

It includes: Belvedere vodka, Akashi-tai sake, lychee juice, lime, coconut and fresh passion fruit.

Sakura at Sake no HanaFor lunch, we started with a miso soup each …

Sake no Hana

… before moving onto the bento box which involved seven-spice chicken kuwayaki and spring salad with sesame dressing for the initial layer.

Sakura at Sake no Hana

And then we moved onto the sushi layer which included salmon avocado, spicy tuna and California rolls, and chu-toro and salmon sashimi.

Sakura at Sake no Hana

I loved everything in the bento box, which may not look like much but it was actually very filling. Apparently in Japan, the sushi is eaten last to avoid prematurely filling up with the rice.

After the delicious bento box and its fresh and tasty ingredients, we moved onto dessert. These were the vanilla macarons with cherry blossom tea ganache.

Sakura at Sake no HanaAnd this was the Sakura Palet D’Or: cherry-chocolate dessert with fresh cherries, nashi pear, almonds and ginger, and cherry blossom tea ice-cream made from the leaves of cherry blossom trees, which I demolished single-handedly after trying one of the macarons … 

Sakura at Sake no Hana… and which I washed down with a Sakura Ice Tea: marasca cherries, jasmine tea and lime. Very refreshing!

Sakura at Sake no HanaIt was so lovely to catch up with Ana in such a pretty space and with such delicious treats.

If you’re in the area and are looking for something different yet reliably yummy to try, I would recommend dropping into this gorgeous pop-up. And even better, if you are in the area on Saturday 26th April at midday, why not step inside to watch the “Kagami Biraki”, a time-honoured Japanese ceremony which entails the lid of a sake barrel being dramatically broken open by a wooden mallet before the sake is served in traditional cups. This will be accompanied by Japanese Taiko drummers with their captivating, high-energy, carnival-like performance. Should be fun!

Sake no Hana, 23 St. James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HA.

Disclosure: We were guests of Sake no Hana but this isn’t a biased post. I left feeling like I had a veritable feast for the palate and eyes.

It’s the week before Easter and this weekend sees the London Marathon happening on Sunday 13th April. But if you’re not running around getting ready for Easter or running through the streets of London for charity, what else is there to do this weekend?

1. The Chelsea Art Fair opened its doors at the Chelsea Town Hall on Thursday and you have until Sunday to visit this international art fair that brings together thirty galleries from the UK and abroad. Here is more information.

2. If you are looking for somewhere delicious and spring-like to visit, why not pop into Sake No Hana on St. James’s Street to dine within their pop-up cherry blossom secret garden and enjoy the scent of Jo Malone’s scented candles lingering.

Sake No Hana

“Sakura at Sake no Hana” also involves a limited-edition menu that includes cherry blossom sake cocktails, exquisite bento boxes, macarons and desserts. To find out more about this pop-up which will run until May 19th, here is Sake No Hana’s website.

Sake No Hana

3. Chocolate lovers, head to Duke of York Square for the Easter Chocolate Market on Saturday. For this week only, the Saturday Farmer’s Market will include a wide range of chocolate sellers from established businesses to smaller artisanal chocolatiers. This one-off chocolate market will celebrate both Easter and the 325th anniversary of Sir Hans Sloane bringing cocoa back to London from the West Indies. Now, that is something to celebrate!

Hans Sloane

Hans Sloane: A local hero

4. Pop into the Victoria and Albert Museum to visit their latest exhibition: The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014. If you can’t make it this weekend, the exhibition will run until 27th July 2014. I, for one, can’t wait to see it.

5. Foodies, head to the South Bank for the Real Food Festival on either Saturday or Sunday for a guilt-free delicious experience that involves “sustainably and ethically produced food.” To find out more, click here.