A mediocre dinner and an Outstanding dinner.

Easter Monday saw us and many others dining at Stoke Park Country club where we had all been playing golf in the Easter Cup Competition ( we did not win, nor even came close!) After the golf, there is always a dinner, which socially is always fun and the food usually very good as well.

This time though, not so good. For starters there was Paté, which I chose not to have, ( I had melon and Parma ham, no problem there,) but himself had the Paté, a biggish chunk, , which he commented ” I could taste it all night “. The main course was salmon, with Asparagus, Samphire and a champagne sauce. All very well, except the salmon was over cooked and had SLOPPY SKIN. Please, either serve it crispy or remove it, there is noting more disgusting that sloppy fish skin, and this was a second time in a row! Te dessert, which I also did not have, was a Bitter Chocolate Cremeux, Caramelized Banana Ice Cream and Toffee Sauce, which if you have a sweet tooth, as Himself does, then it was fabulous.

Onto our next dining experience, 5 years ago after the Japanese tsunami, we went to a Japanese restaurant in St. James London for a charity event, and we were blown away by the standard of food, service an everything about that evening.

Therefore we have been saying ever since, we must go back, and so this week we did. We went with friends one of whom is Japanese, one Dutch/ Brazilian, one Egyptian ( by birth) and three British. The restaurant in question is Sake No Hana and is on ST. James Street. There was a special menu for the Sakura Season. Sakura is Cherry Blossom and during the Cherry Blossom Season in Japan, it seems that the world revolves around it! And this was not different. Even the decor for the Sakura season are clouds of white and pink cherry blossoms.

The head Chef created a special Sakura menu, which included, of course, a Sakura Cocktail. This was composed of Sake, Vermouth, Cherry liqueur, Bold Aperitif and lavender bitters, beautiful decorated as well.Cocktail

Our starter was  Miso Soup, with Tofu cake, spring onion and something called wakame , which according to Wikipedia, is a sea vegetable, or edible seaweed. The tofu cake was I think fried and not soft white tofu, or it could have been smoked tofu.

Sushi, was next,  served in a box, I think representing a bento box. This consisted of Nigiri with Maguro (Tuna) and  Amaebi (Sweet shrimp), Maki with spicy Chirashi, Shiso Okra, and  Salmon, Along with Suzuki Sasa Sushi, which was Sea Bass wrapped in a bamboo leaf. All of these were delicious.sushi

For the next course we had options, we had the choice of Rib Eye beef Sumiyaki with chili Ponzu, Prawn and Vegetable Tempura, Salmon with Champagne Yuzo Miso or Agedashi Tofu. We were a party of 6 and strangely, without any consultation we all chose the beef. Beautifully presented and just a wonderful flavour.meat

It was at this point that the girls decided to have some Sake. Sake might be an acquired taste but smooth sake is quiet delicious and obviously goes very well with Japanese food. Our dessert was actually the pièce de resistance. It was a Cherry Chocolate Delice with Sakora Jelly, Bitter Chocolate and Sour Cherry, absolutely divine!!. They are having their special Sakura menu from now until June 10th. If you like Japanese food, or if you are a novice, then this is the one for you. Two of our group had never tried Japanese food previously, but loved it.

On a simpler note,  we have recently discovered Baker and Spice. They have a stand in Selfridge food hall, but we found their cafe, quiet by chance, one day when we were out and about. Yummy for lunch and very popular.

Can’t make it to the cafe, which is in Belgravia, Elizabeth St., halfway between Victoria and Sloane Square, then there is a deli or shop, in Chelsea, Maida Vale and Brighton