Sakagura: Show me something different (April 2017)

Sakagura constitutes a recent addition to the self-styled Heddon Street ‘restaurant quarter’, located one block to the west of Regent’s Street. Given its location and the fact that it is the only Japanese offering here, it will probably do well enough. However, a recent visit was profoundly uninspiring. It’s hard to fault the décor of dark wood, copper and brass; all nice and modern and on-trend. There are also more intimate booths and dining bar downstairs where punters can watch the chefs in action. The service was also efficient in a classically unemotional Japanese way. Furthermore, the presentation of the food was first class, our bento boxes arranged as if they were works of art. However, Sakagura, singularly lacked atmosphere; what the food gained in aesthetics, it lost in taste and quantity; and, the prices aren’t cheap. Begin with the atmosphere. The music was loud and felt distinctly out of place on a weekday lunchtime. Maybe it gets better in the evening, but a more discerning policy in this respect is needed. Those dining on our visit were seated in a disparate way across the restaurant, spread out and isolated, magnifying the place’s relative emptiness. Again, a poor strategy, which could be rectified. Turning to the food and the portions in our lunchtime bento boxes bordered on the stingy; just three very small pieces of sashimi, for example. Moreover, if you are going to charge a £5 supplement for a miso black cod main, then at least make sure it comprises more than about two mouthfuls. The food was tasty, but far from ground-breaking. At this price point (£25; or clearly more if you want the cod or beef teriyaki), I would rather go to nearby Ikeda or Sakana-Tei. Neither may be as modern or as ‘cool’ as Sakagura, but they certainly do better food at this price point.