Heddon Street is one of those secret little spots in London that many people pass by, blissfully unaware of the little culinary oasis just a few metres from one of London’s busiest shopping streets. Many tourists only stray to Heddon Street to see the blue plaque commemorating David Bowie’s cover shoot for ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’. Saying that, a lot of London foodies do know about it, so the restaurants and bars here are always busy and buzzing.
Since November there is a new kid on the block – international Japanese dining experience and sake bar, Sakagura, opened at this culinary hotspot and it has already garnered a lot of praise for its authentic cooking and stylish interior.
The opening party was hugely enjoyable, with guests being treated to seemingly never ending sparkling sake and sake cocktails, as well as delicious samples of the wonderful food. The were Japanese drummers, we had our name written in Japanese characters, our silhouette cut out and we witnessed one of the sake barrels being ceremoniously opened.
The restaurant serves authentic Japanese washoku cuisine, a cooking style which is on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list. This every-day style of cooking is based on a harmonious mix of rice, miso, pickled vegetables, fish and meat in every meal, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients.
The lunch and dinner menus have been created by Executive Chef, Kanji Furukawa and Head Chef, Jin Yackshin, celebrating their passion for authentic cooking with an intrinsic eye for detail, and showcasing the classic elements of washoku cuisine: harmony and balance, taste, texture, presentation and seasonality.
Choose from a range of Hakata yakitori (robata-grilled dishes): Kurobuta – Berkshire black pork belly with halen mon sea salt; Tuna Nigiri Sushi – freshly prepared tuna sushi hand brushed with soy sauce and Wagyu Steak – Japanese wagyu beef steak served with hojiso.
The selection of freshly made sashimi and sushi includes Maguro Avocado Tartare with Cotswold Legbar yolk and yuzu lemongrass and Kampachi Carpaccio – yellowtail served with house sudachi dressing.
From every-day dishes including hand-pulled udon and soba noodles, to more intricate tasting menus, save room for Tiger Ebi – tiger prawns with moshio salt & lemon and the king of the sea, fresh lobster served on individual Japanese shichirin stoves.
The star of the show, Shokado Bento, comprises seven dishes: sashimi, agemono, tofu, salad, yakimono, seasonal rice & miso soup, each perfectly showcasing the classic elements of washoku cuisine.
The well-stocked sake cellar serves choices and labels handpicked from Gekkeikan, one of oldest sake companies in the world. The carefully curated list boasts one of the largest selections of sake in London alongside varieties of Japanese whisky, rum, a selection of umeshu, flavoured sake, shochu, craft beers and spirits as well as wines by the glass and bottle.
Cocktail lovers can enjoy limited edition sake-based Japanese cocktails created by expert mixologists and sake sommeliers, like Whisky Risky – a herbal blend of Hakushu 12-year whisky, green Chartreuse, Namazake, citrus fruits and mint leaves and Karai Sake – chilli infused sake mixed with silver tequila, Agave syrup and grated ginger for that added zing! Furano Fields – a floral and fruity concoction with lavender, Namazake, Jinzu gin, apricot brandy, passion fruit finished with fresh lavender and Okinawan Dragon – with dragon fruit, cachaca, Japanese rum for an extra kick.
The spirit of Japanese hospitality, omotenashi, is obvious from the moment you arrive, right up to when you leave, ensuring a unique dining experience that is both relaxed yet steeped in tradition and harmony.
Sakagura is the first joint venture between the Japan Centre Group; sake Royal Warrant holders – Gekkeikan; Japanese plum wine brand Choya; the Toridoll Corporation and a two-Michelin star Japanese restaurants for seasonal collaborations.
Sakagura, 8 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BU