Saki, Farringdon

Posted on March 3, 2011

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Japanese, Food 5/5, Price ~£30 for three courses £58 for five, Waiting time 5 to 10 mins between courses, Atmosphere 4/5 , website

Lobster and white asparagus with Osetra Caviar in a miso sauce.

Being Japanese, and a half decent cook, with a mother who’s an excellent cook, I rarely dine out at Japanese restaurants. Saki is a big exception – its food is authentic and exquisite and of a quality that’s impossible, expensive or extremely time consuming to reproduce at home. There is some experimentation with Western ingredients such as caviar and truffles, to add some luxury vocabulary in the menu, but largely adheres to tradition. It is expensive, but you’d pay just as much in Tokyo for food this good and I imagine quite a few of the ingredients are flown in from Japan. The professional service makes the brightly lit basement dining room a comfortable place to be.
They have a mailing list that tells you about their offers ( leave your business card when you visit to subscribe). I got a 50% off food voucher from a recent offer and hurried along to try their chef’s omakase 5 course menu. The traditional Japanese dishes are delicate, healthy and low in carbs. That’s why I like to order some rice to go with the dishes – it makes up for the lack of carbs, like a bread basket, in Japanese haute cuisine.
The poached lobster is one of my favourite dishes. The morsel is still translucent in the centre. I’ve tried this dish a la carte in the past. Then it didn’t have the caviar and it was still just as good.

Clay pot steamed duck and new bamboo shoot.

A clear soup and various morsels in a cute clay pot. The broth is made of amazing quality dashi. It’s the best I’ve ever had outside Japan. Unfortunately, the piece of duck was a bit tough, but there were also fragrant mushroom and a meaty prawn.

Soy beans, King prawn rice cracker coated tempura, sweet yomogi dumplings, semi-dried, grilled sardine, nanohana flower tempura.

Grilled black cod with truffle miso.

The fried dishes are exciting, and the miso-marinated cod is a brilliant, melt-in-the mouth rendition of the classic dish, made famous on Nobu’s menu. The rich miso marinade is heady with rice wine.

Sushi

The seasoning and firmness of the sushi rice at Saki is spot on – not too sweet and on the tough side.

Chef's special dessert - green tea tiramisu, coffee jelly and homemade ice cream

I love the light, retro Japanese dessert of coffee jelly in its tart raspberry sauce, but my friend wasn’t sure about it. I guess it’s difficult to please both the Western and Eastern palates, which are slightly different. I think Saki generally strikes a good balance.

They have an extensive sake rice wine list as well.

Saki Bar & Food Emporium on Urbanspoon

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