"There was almost nothing to fault.."Review Rating: Reviewed by James Whiting
This review is one of the easiest I have ever had to write... If you want to experience Japan and Japanese cuisine in London, go to Sakagura. I could just leave it there!
There was almost nothing to fault, from the moment we arrived and were greeted by a chorus of "Irasshaimase" from the waiting staff, to when we were handed our coats as we left and asked if we had enjoyed ourselves. The answer was simple, we really had...
Sakagura certainly looks the part. Tables are dotted around a lavish bar, and the chefs can been seen working on the fresh fish lying on the gleaming ice chips at the back of the restaurant. We were lucky enough to get a booth, which was slightly raised from the other tables nearby, complete with its own Japanese curtains. These created a sense of privacy, but also added to the atmosphere and feel of the restaurant.
Our cocktails arrived and showed off the skills behind the bar. We then tried four of the appetisers, and all were excellent. Vegetable tempura was crisp and full of flavour. The signature seared mackerel ceviche sushi is a must order. Tuna tartare was fresh, clean and beautifully laid out on a traditional fisherman's tray. However, the star of the show was unsurprisingly the sashimi moriawase. This arrived in a huge rock bowl full to the brim with the gleaming ice chips we had seen when arriving. The fresh wasabi was intoxicating as it was grated freshly at the table, and was as potent as expected when smeared on the fish. The dish was immaculate, both in flavour and presentation.
For our main courses we couldn't miss the lobster and the wagyu. However, our waitress recommended the traditional Kamameshi as well. It didn't disappoint. The rice was served at the table from a small hot round silver cauldron, and the depth of flavour was excellent. The chicken was tender, and it had that lovely comfort food feel. This was a nice foil for the opulence of the lobster and wagyu courses. The lobster was hot from the grill and was flavoured with truffle. One tiny issue here was getting all of the meat out of the shell with chopsticks. Not an easy job, due to a combination of poor skills from the diners, and the lobster being close to the line of overcooked. To fault this is clutching at straws to be honest... Finally the wagyu was wagyu, pretty faultless. Tender, full of that umami flavour, so much so, it was tempting to order another one.
If the food wasn't impressive enough, accompanying the entire meal was a Sake flight. There was a selection of cold Sakes, hot Sake, and a dessert Sake just before our sorbet and raindrop cakes arrived. Our Sake sommelier was so passionate, and explained the different flavours, origin and reasons for pairing each drink with our food. The breadth and differing tastes of the Sakes was a real eye opener. Even if you aren't sure if Sake is for you, Sakagura will most likely win you over to the ways of the rice wine!
The dessert courses were the weakest of the evening, but they still piqued our interest. We had ordered jelly and ice cream... The sorbets were an interesting fusion of traditional and Japanese flavours. Chocolate and wasabi worked well, Yuzu was a lovely refreshing palette cleanser, however, the standout was the soy sauce and caramel. Finding fault with Sakagura was difficult, but following a meal with such exquisite presentation, the ice creams were lacking panache, with the precision of the boules a bit rough around the edges. The raindrop cakes were better to look at, and very subtly flavoured, so much so that the it was difficult to pin the dominant flavour down. An interesting end to the meal, which was of such a high calibre, it was difficult to maintain it during the dessert course.
The end of this review is as simple as the start. Go to Sakagura, enjoy all of it, thank us later for the recommendation.
James Whiting reviewed Sakagura on Mon 20 Mar 2017Review disclosure: reviewer was invited to review