Sake No Hana, the smart Japanese restaurant occupying an unusual Grade II-listed Modernist building in St James’s, has been quietly closed down by its owners, the Hakkasan group, bringing to an end its 13-year run.
Opened in 2008 by Jamie Barber of Mayfair’s Hush and his business partner Evgeny Lebedev, owner of the Evening Standard, Sake No Hana was an early London exponent of taking a contemporary rather than a traditional approach to upscale Japanese dining. It was also striking visually, with a futuristic single escalator to the entrance and a wooden interior by Kengo Kuma, the architect of the Tokyo Olympic stadium.
The restaurant was acquired in 2011 by the glitzy, Las Vegas-headquartered Hakkasan Group, which was in turn taken over by the Tao Hospitality Group of New York in April this year.
While consistently highly rated for its food, which was described as “beautiful” in the new Harden’s London guide, Sake No Hana never achieved the fame of its siblings, and it is perhaps a measure of its low profile that it had been closed for a month before anybody in the hospitality trade press even registered its demise.