Saki Bar & Food Emporium EC1
REVIEWS, April 17, 2006
Overall Value
3
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
3
  • Food
  • Service
  • Ambience
Saki, 4 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9JX

The dreaded word ‘restaurant’ is absent from self-description of this ‘bar and food emporium’, so – naturally – the largest part of the establishment turns out to just such function.

For what it is, this ‘secret’ dining room – dominated by a large, square black marble dining bar – tries a bit too hard. Solo diners contemplate a central feature has been described elsewhere as stalagmites, but which looked to me like spooky white candles in a snow-drift. This ensemble must clearly have cost a lot, so perhaps more attention should have been paid to the ergonomics: I just didn’t find sitting here comfortable. The more conventional tables dotted around the periphery looked a safer bet.

Out of duty to readers – not just pure greed- I ordered both a tempura set lunch and sushi to start. This, it turned out, was a good thing. The set lunch on its own – unlike a typical Bento box, say – would only have satisfied those of very modest appetite. The sushi was good, but rather eclipsed by the fresh and interesting maki rolls that came with it. The tempura – vegetables and a couple of prawns – was crisp enough, but rather dry and brittle.

This in truth rather modest lunch, with one glass of wine and one cup of tea, came to £27.50, leaving me with none of the ‘bargain’ glow that a Japanese lunch often inspires. Nor did I feel – despite the best efforts of the charming staff – that I’d begun to scale any sort of culinary heights. That may be why, after a couple of months of operation, the place was still less than half full for lunch.

Perhaps, in the evenings, the sort of bright young things you find inhabiting a ‘bar and food emporium’ inject a bit more life.

More from Hardens

Share this article: