Situated in the heart of Mayfair, Sake no Hana is the latest project by the Hakkasan Group, purveyors of stylish, premium Asian cuisine with restaurants all over the world. While its sleek sister restaurant Hakkasan Mayfair serves modern Cantonese cooking, Sake no Hana offers authentic modern Japanese dishes. Head chef Hideki Hiwatashi worked for over ten years under chef Yoshihiro Murata at the two-starred Kyoto restaurant Kikunoi Roan. It was here that he developed a deep understanding of the traditional multi-course Japanese cuisine kaiseki, which is now the star attraction at Sake no Hana.
Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the interior is dominated by intricate wooden patterns that hang low from the ceiling. Every year from the end of March to the end of May they are adorned with cherry blossom to celebrate the sakura season in Japan. The furniture is minimalist yet comfortable with low leather armchairs and unvarnished wooden tables. Although there is a smart-casual dress code (no sportswear or hats), the restaurant’s ambiance is relaxed and unpretentious. The excellent front of house team are welcoming and always on hand to provide descriptions of each dish.
Diners can order à la carte or follow the traditional structure of a kaiseki meal. This will typically start with miso soup, followed by small plates such as sushi and tempura before finishing with one of Hideki’s signature main courses. A key tenant of kaiseki cuisine is using the freshest seasonal ingredients. This is at the core of Hideki’s dishes, which incorporate exotic ingredients such as Chilean sea bass, sea urchin and myoga, as well as caviar, wagyu beef and other luxurious favourites.
To drink, there is wine, beer, cocktails and an extensive range of sake, which can be enjoyed by the carafe or as part of a sake flight. For the whisky enthusiast, there is a impressive selection of Japanese expressions. The whisky flight is inspired by the life of Masataka Taketsuru, the man responsible for kickstarting the production of Japanese whisky, and is paired with chocolates made by the restaurant's pastry team.