Sakagura, 8 Heddon Street, London, W1B 4BS www.sakaguralondon.com
Sakagura, in the heart of central London is celebrating its first anniversary by launching a brand-new izakaya-style (casual) menu inspired by the drinking houses of Japan.
The dishes, like in many sharing restaurants, leave the kitchen as soon as they’re ready. The first to arrive were the Japanese Pickles. It doesn’t sound like an overly impressive dish, I’ll give you that, but the flavours are so complex, with each pickle bursting with unique character. They are also beautifully presented Ã¢â‚¬â€œ vibrant colours on a black and grey, creating a dish that tempts you in.
The Yakko Tofu is like no other tofu I’ve ever tasted before. It is silky soft and smooth Ã¢â‚¬â€œ you can quite literally cut it with a spoon. Topped with katsuobushi Ã¢â‚¬â€œ dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna flakes Ã¢â‚¬â€œ which adds a layer of crispness, spring onion and fiery grated ginger, this isn’t one to be missed.
I didn’t think it could get much better, until the tara miso yaki Ã¢â‚¬â€œ miso black cod Ã¢â‚¬â€œ arrived. Charcoal grilled over an open robata, the fish was smoky and sweet at the same time. The glaze had a slight stickiness to it which offset the way the fish flaked the second you touched it with your chopsticks. This is possibly the best cod I have ever eaten.
Then, the miso buta. A teriyaki skewer with three pieces of black pork belly that had been brushed with an awase blended miso glaze, before being cooked over a charcoal grill.
Again, the glaze was slightly sticky, salty and sweet. The pork belly was so soft it melted in your mouth. Even one of my dining companions, who doesn’t generally eat pork, was enchanted by this little skewer.
The matcha moshio brown seaweed salt is a mouthful to pronounce but with its vibrant green colour is fun to pour and even better to eat. It has a wonderfully salty, umami taste that heightened the flavours of the sweet prawns and soft shell crab.
I challenge you to find me someone who can resist a Sakagura donburi, especially the tuna zuke don. A bowl of sticky white rice is served with more tuna akami sashimi than you can possibly imagine, which has been marinated in a gomadare sesame soy dressing. The texture is perfectly soft and the tuna is so fresh, but can quite easily hold its own against the hearty portion of wasabi that comes served on top. This dish alone would make the perfect lunchtime treat for one.
And finally, the best dish was saved for last. Scallop sashimi. This was served so delicately in a shell, with three slices of scallop with an unbelievably thin piece of lemon in between each layer. The scallop was delicate and sweet but at the same time slightly citrusy and completely overwhelming all of your senses.
The food at Sakagura blew me away. It has been a long time since I’ve had a meal that was completely and utterly faultless. The flavours were an experience and you could see the care and attention that had been put into every plate’s presentation. I can’t wait to go back.