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Enjoy the thrill of the grill the Japanese way at Sakagura

August 19, 2017

LifestyleRestaurants & Bars | by Baldwin Ho


When it comes to summer barbecuing, we might think of American-style chilli-glazed pork ribs or BBQ-braised beef brisket, but you might not know the Japanese are also massive culinary fans of this cooking technique with their ‘yakiniku-style’ cooking. For the summer season, you can try out this unique style of food preparation yourself at the slick Sakagura restaurant on Heddon Street, which is owned by Japan Centre.

If you didn’t know already, Heddon Street is a mecca for all food lovers with a wide selection of dining options. Sakagura stands out with its ornate Oriental designs, including exquisite sake bottles and barrels and an intimate open kitchen in its basement.

For the yakiniku dining experience, you will sit on their terrace, so that the cooking smells don’t permeate throughout the restaurant and affect other diners’ experiences, and it will give you a chance to indulge in some people watching on the pedestrianized street.

Meat dishes are a must-order, as their extra tender yakiniku meat is wet-aged in specialist Japanese kuraban fridges to bring out the beefy flavours. The food is cooked over a small shichirin coal grill with elegant Japanese calligraphy on its side. For a lux dining experience, opt for their extremely well-marbled Japanese wagyu sirloin, which took seconds rather than minutes to cook and was complemented well by their selection of dipping sauces.

Seafood lovers and vegetarians are also well catered for here. We tried some perky looking scallops, which I suspect might be from Hokkaido and well-trimmed and tender-tasting asparagus that felt as fine as any Wye Valley version I’ve tried in recent months.

The barbecue set menu does come with extras to ensure that it is a satisfying dining experience. It is served with gleaming white steamed rice from Koshihikari, which is the most popular variety served in Japan due to its perfect appearance. Wafu salada is served for those who have over-indulged on the meat selections and a hearty bowl of tofu and wakame miso soup.

For desserts, they have some wickedly inventive sounding ice cream options: Sake kasu vanilla, dark chocolate wasabi and soy sauce caramel. The chocolate version we tried was luscious-tasting with only a gentle hint of wasabi for those who have reservations about spicy ice cream flavors.

Their drinks menu deserves special mention for their quirky Japanese cocktails including beautiful virgin ones like the Kyoto Garden and Kirei Tonic using on-trend ingredients like seed lip and aloe juice, and their sake menu is one of the most extensive you will find in London.

If you don’t want to spend hours preparing ingredients for your in-house barbecue, then a visit to Sakagura might be your solution.

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