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Sake No Hana, London

23 St. James's Street
England SW1A 1HA
Tel: 44 20 7925 8988
view web site ›'s insider take:

Once you've found Sake No Hana—no mean feat, since there's no sign outside—the lighting, or lack of it, will further impede your progress upstairs. Stick with it, though, because the dimly lit escalator opens up into an airy bamboo den, with large windows. Owner Alan Yau's first foray into Japanese fine dining—following big success with Wagamama, Hakkasan, and Yauatcha—doesn't disappoint. Wagyu beef and king crab are excellent but will set you back a pretty penny. If you're here for lunch, try the Bento boxes: They include a good selection of braised dishes (pork ribs with sugar snap peas are great) and exemplary tempura, and are a little easier on the wallet. The sushi and sashimi are not your usual conveyor belt-selection; in addition to classics like fatty tuna and prawn, expect sea bass, turbot, and blue swimmer crab (most sushi rolls are priced around $10). The service is efficient and the Austrian sommelier is happy to show you around the exclusively old-world wine list as well as the enormous selection of sakes. And if you prefer your Japanese food at a low-level table sans shoes, be sure to mention it when you book. The restaurant is co-owned by Evgeny Lebedev, son of the new owner of London's Evening Standard newspaper, Russian oligarch and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev. Needless to say, with these kind of credentials the restaurant attracts the capital's rich set (Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal is a regular).

Open daily noon to 3 pm and 6 pm to midnight.

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