Umai Saturdays at Sake No Hana, 23 St James Street, Mayfair.

The sushi chefs hard at work at the counter, my favourite kind of people watching

The weekend is often the best time to catch up with friends, after a busy week who better to unwind with that your inner circle? I find the best catch ups are spent trying a new brunch spot, and pushing your food comfort zones. London is constantly cropping up with new restaurants and new menus; so discovering Umai Saturdays at Sake No Hana, one crisp, bright, sunny Saturday afternoon last weekend was a treat indeed. 

It’s traditional in Japan to enjoy many dishes throughout one meal. This five course treat was started with the most delicious little bowl of sesame spinach (the only ‘salad’ I ever want to eat again!) and sparkling sake, which was a revelation to me. It’s light and sweet and almost the opposite of it’s counterpart. A delicate ‘Suzuko Usuzukuri’ sea bass sashimi followed, then the large plate of insanely delicious little sushis came out, accompanied with traditional still Sake. I had to be careful to not stock up too much as I knew what was to come!

The star of the show was the Umai (translation: Delicious) Sukiyaki with candy floss. Yup. Rib-eye beef with tofu, mushrooms and vegetables came to be cooked at the table in a cast iron pot. Whilst a delicate cloud of candy floss was carried over and placed on top or the sizzling beef. A hot sauce was poured over the top of the floss to turn the spun sugar into a sticky sauce to accompany our main. MIND BLOWN AT THIS POINT. It was a little sobering to see how much sugar went into this dish, but Hey! I said this was a treat, after all…

Then, as if not satisfied enough, out came dessert. What felt like a more classic Japanese dessert was the Sesame creme with Yuzu sorbet and blackberry meringue, accompanied by what clearly every brit wants to see for a dessert a Miso apple Tarte Tatin, so many gooey light pastry layers it was serious heaven. The light in this room is seriously too good, we could have easily sat people watching all afternoon. And we pretty much did. There’s no need to rush off, this Japanese five course sensation is to reflect their love of long, delicious meals.

Thanks Sake No Hana for having us!