Luxurious modern Japanese restaurant Sake No Hana in St. James’s quietly but permanently closed on 5 October, 2021, Eater London has learned.
A Facebook post on that day said: “We are sad to announce that Sake no Hana will close its doors permanently,” adding that it had “really enjoyed being a part of London’s exciting and innovative restaurant scene for the past 10 years.” The team from the restaurant were given opportunities to work in the company’s four London sister restaurants — Hakkasan in Mayfair and Hanway Place and Yauatcha in Soho and the City.
A spokesperson for the restaurant confirmed its closure, sharing a statement on behalf of its owners. “Having opened in St James’s in 2008, Sake no Hana was best known for bringing together Hakkasan’s efficient and intuitive service style with a carefully selected menu, to deliver a Japanese restaurant experience of the highest quality,” it said.
Although it first opened in early 2008, Sake No Hana was sold to the now-global Hakkasan group in 2011 by restaurateur Jamie Barber (he behind Hush, Hache, Cabana Brasil), and the Evening Standard media group owner Evgeny Lebedev. At the time, visionary restaurateur Alan Yau — creator of Wagamama, Hakkasan itself, and Yauatcha — was in creative control of the restaurant and its relaunch was significant. Under Yau, sushi chef Noboru Ishii, and head chef Maskazu Kikuchihara, the restaurant reopened as one of the hottest in town. Testament to its buzz and renown was its opening party, a who’s who of early 2010s celebrities and scenesters.
At the time of the sale, Barber told the Caterer: “Sake No Hana was set up with Alan Yau on board as a consultant, so in some way it’s come full circle. It has returned to its spiritual home.”
A very stylish, upmarket space — its interiors were designed by architect Kengo Kuma — Sake No Hana occupied the ground and first floor of a modernist Grade II listed building (itself the work of architects Alison and Peter Smithson in the 1960s) in the very old-school, often quintessentially English St. James’s, where it was among the first of a new class of restaurant offering precise, modern Japanese dining in London.
According to a review of the restaurant in 2008 by the Independent’s Tracey Macleod, it was a confident outfit. “Uniquely for an expensive London restaurant, Sake No Hana doesn’t have a wine list; instead, the sommelier guides you through an exhaustive menu of sakes, many of which cost upward of £100,” Macleod wrote.
Sushi and sashimi was prepared to order at an intimate 13-seat sushi bar; while elsewhere in the restaurant ceramic-plate-heated meat and rice dishes, as well protein from a charcoal grill.
“We would like to take this chance to say thank you to everyone who made Sake no Hana the restaurant it is, from our talented chefs to our team who ran the restaurant front of house and behind the scenes,” the Facebook post from October added. “We would also like to thank everyone who came into the restaurant.”
Eater has contacted representatives of the Hakkasan Group for comment on Sake No Hana’s closure.