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East meets West … Sakagura arrives in the West End’s Heddon Street

Heddon Street, off Regent Street south is where a number of quality restaurants can be found including the vegetarian Tibits, Gordon Ramsay’s Heddon Street Kitchen and the North African inspired Momo. Add to the list a new Southern Japanese influenced venture called Sakagura. This is the first joint venture between the Japan Centre Group; sake Royal Warrant holders – Gekkeikan; Japanese plum wine brand Choya; the Toridoll Corporation and a two-Michelin star Japanese restaurant called The Araki, owned and run by Chef Mitsuhiro Araki.

The menu has been created by Shoryu Ramen’s Executive Chef Kanji Furukawa and there is an on-site sake sommelier to curate specialist sake cocktails. The interiors have been created by B3 Designers who have worked hard to present a stylish and intimate dining destination. Sakagura is set across two floors, with seating on the ground floor in small intimate dining booths next to an impressive, dedicated sake bar. And in the basement there is a traditional 11-seater wooden kappo counter where diners can watch the chefs at work in the confines of a sake cellar. Drawing inspiration from merging the traditional with a contemporary design twist, the juxtaposition of the interiors sees dark wood panelling, sake barrels and noren curtains against cool rough copper, brass, timber and textured concrete creating a sophisticated and wonderfully atmospheric dining experience.

Those who have been to Roka, Hakkassan or Dinings will be familiar with the interior elements of Sakagura: the robata grill, the kappo counter, the sake barrels, the screened booths, the dramatic mood lighting; all present and correct. This interior look tends to be associated with high end and expensive Japanese dining whereas Sakagura promises a more accessible pricing policy to attract a wider audience. Form a queue!