food | 27 May 2016
Hanami is the Japanese tradition of enjoying the sakura bloom that starts from the end of February to the beginning of June. For years it has been a reason for many travellers to fly out to Japan to enjoy the transient beauty of the sakura (cherry blossom) while enjoying a feast under the sakura trees. If we didn’t have a wedding to attend in Hong Kong this year, we would have gone to Japan for hanami instead.
Luckily, we’ve got a sakura garden of our own in London, in the heart of Mayfair to be exact. To celebrate hanami, Sake No Hana has created an exclusive sakura menu, featuring dishes that are as delicate and sophisticated as the sakura flowers. We got to enjoy the menu last week on a sunny afternoon under beautiful intertwining sakura branches – and here’s what we had!
The Sake No Hana sakura menu starts with a Kaori Arpege cocktail, with beefeater 24 gin, yuzu sake, cherry liqueur, peach bitters, grapefruit juice and agave. The cocktail is a light and fragrant cocktail, that is made even more aromatic through the use of three atomizers containing fruit essences that you spray onto the cocktail glass. The mists are subtle and refined and add a bit of perfume and a theatrical spectacle to the drink.
On the menu is a Shiro Misoshiru Uguisu Tofu soup, a miso soup that contains a surprisingly sweet and soft edamame peas tofu (absolutely yum!), spring onions and wakame seaweed. The rest of the menu is served in a bento box style, starting with a delicious Salmon Miso Yaki with egg mustard sauce and a Chicken Sumiyaki with a spicy shichimi sauce. The sushi is presented in another box and features a chu toro caviar nigiri (what a delight!), a salmon kizami wasabi nigiri, an ama ebi nigiri and an okura shiso maki. Wrapped in a banana leaf, is a beautiful suzuki sasazuhi nigiri. In a separate box of sashimi, we have hamachi, akami and salmon.
On to my favorite part: dessert! The Cherry Chocolate Sake Mousse dessert is easily one of the most beautiful desserts I’ve seen. The dessert features a cherry chocolate mousse, a cherry sake mousse, a chocolate crumble with a sake jelly. The mousse was soft and airy and paired well against the dark, almost bitter chocolate crumble. Yeah, we may need to go back for this one.
The menu also features Cherry Blossom Macarons, vanilla macarons with a dark and indulgent cherry blossom tea ganache. We highly recommend the Sakura Senchai tea to go with the dessert. It balances out the richness of the ganache and concludes the menu on a light and fragrant note.
The sakura menu is available until June 18th at Sake No Hana in London.