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Top 10 Best Sake Bars in London

Picture of Top 10 Best Sake Bars in London

Sake, the fermented rice beverage that can be served hot, cold, sparkling or infused in a cocktail, is one of the biggest and baddest Japanese exports to reach the shores of London town. The complexity of flavours - from sweet to dry, savoury to umami sake - keeps the drinkers of London happy, no matter their chosen taste. Sake is also an excellent alcoholic drink to pair with food, especially when choosing to dine on Japanese cuisine. Sushi, sashimi, kamameshi, udon, soba, yakitori, tempura, miso, sukiyaki and kaiseki; all can be paired with a sake. Check out the best Japanese restaurants in London if your focus is more food than booze. If sake is what your heart desires, we’ll see you at the izakaya. Kanpai!

Image of XU

Soho
Restaurant
Asian

Xu Asian restaurant in Soho offers different levels of fruit notes and savoury taste throughout its sake collection. The team are on hand to assist you in finding the right sake, so ask questions. Permanently on the menu, discover an unfiltered sake which can be enjoyed hot or cold, as well as two very different digestif sake choices. Misty Mountain sake is also recommended from the menu. It is made using the Ancient Bodaimoto Method, giving it an earthy flavour and texture. It's said to have the same reaction as some natural wines. Cool Taiwanese tea house interiors and reasonable prices too.

Image of Shoryu Carnaby

Soho
Restaurant
Japanese

Shoryu Carnaby in Kingly Court is one of London's most popular ramen restaurants, specialising in the most authentic tasting Hakata tonkotsu recipe outside Japan. This branch includes outdoor seating under the giant courtyard roof and has retractable windows for the summer months; seating is also available at the bar, so no matter what, it will be lively. They offer a huge range of sake, sake cocktails, beer, wine, and shochu. Favourite sake tipples include the cloudy nigori sake (which helps lower cholesterol); the sweet, chilled sparkling sake utakata; or the Gekkeikan Tokusen, chilled, room temperature, or warm. If ramen is not your thing, try buns, gyoza and jumbo hakata yakitori.

Image of Sake No Hana Sushi Bar

Mayfair
Bar / Restaurant
Japanese

Sake No Hana modern Japanese restaurant in Mayfair is part of the Hakkasan group. The heavy use of wood in decorating the interior gives it a forest in the city feel. On the drinks menu, sake flights give you the opportunity to sample three different varieties, including the Akashi-Tai, Honjozo and the Kamoizumi Shusen Three Dots Junmai. There's also sake by the carafe, sake by the glass, sparkling sake, nigori sake, small bottled sake (including the Kanpai Sumi Tokubetsu Junmai made in Peckham) and rare sake such as the Amabuki Rhododendron. The range of dishes from the charcoal grill, the sushi/sashimi bar, and the kamameshi menu complete this authentic Japanese experience.

Image of Ginza Onodera

St James
Restaurant
Japanese

As part of a global group of restaurants that originated in Tokyo, this Japanese restaurant near The Ritz has learned lots from its older siblings. Grab a seat near the teppanyaki bar if you want to be entertained. A dramatic theatre of cooking will commence. Skip the wine list and instead ask the sommelier to help you pair your food choices with appropriate sake drinks; always finishing with a sparkling sake if you can. Be warned, this is not going to be a cheap night out; but it will be a memorable night out. There's cold sake, body temperature sake, warm okan pot sake, sake liqueur, plum wine and shochu by the glass. Plus, every day in the bar, 6-9pm, get 3 sake and 3 canapes for £20!

Image of Chisou

Knightsbridge
Restaurant
Japanese

If you happen to be shopping at Harrods and have a hunger for Japanese, head to Chisou close by. They have their own sake sommelier who has selected sake brewed from all across Japan, including brands such as Akitabare, Tedorigawa, Seitoku and Hoyo. There are a variety of sake styles and sizes too: sake by the glass, carafe, or bottle; hot and cold sake; clean and dry sake; aromatic and fruity sake; savoury and complex sake; and specialty sake such as the Tamagawa Time Machine, best served with dessert. And if that isn't enough, there's also a small selection of shochu if need be; but really, that should be a last resort. Head for the 2nd floor, grab a seat at the bar, and pair with food.

Image of Zuma

Knightsbridge
Bar / Restaurant
Japanese

Also located in ultra high-end Knightsbridge is this fine dining yet informal, modern Japanese restaurant, replete with a sushi counter, a robata grill and a professional sake sommelier. This is the place to come if you've gone into "impress" mode (it's also fabulous for people-watching) so maybe aim for the day after payday; this level of high class action is priced accordingly so booking is essential, if not a little difficult. Therefore, we recommend a boozy lunch instead, as you're more likely to get a table. On the sake menu there are 40+ varietals to choose from, plus cocktails that use sake as the key ingredient.

Image of Flat Three

Holland Park
Restaurant
Japanese

The experience at this Notting Hill restaurant comes in 3- or 5-course varieties; the menu favouring locally sourced and foraged ingredients, plus 100% plant-based vegan delights if your heart desires (think Porthilly mussels, hispi cabbage with fermented butter, and salt baked beets, preserved yuzu with shichimi). They are also experts in all things fermentation so your gut will be kind to you forever more. Ask the sommelier for the alcohol pairing with each course, emphasising how keen you are to indulge your love of sake; it will pay off in the end. Their cellar is filled with imported bottles that originate with the finest brewers in Japan, such as the revered Koshi no Kanbai brewers.

Image of Kanada-Ya

West End
Restaurant
Japanese

OK, do yourself a favour: don't bother coming here on a Friday or at the weekend. The queues are not favourable. Instead, make this a Monday to Wednesday visit, and not straight after work. Instead, go see a movie or theatre show in the West End nearby. By the time you exit, hungry and ready for a hot debrief over hot sake, this small ramen restaurant will have space to accommodate you. The ramen must be ordered; don't argue! Sake choices range from the Dewazakura Omachi "Jewel Brocade" Junmai Ginjo, to the Dassai 50 Nigori premium chilled sake, and the nutty Tamagawa Tokubetsu Junmaishu "heart of oak" hot sake.

Image of Kikuchi

Fitzrovia
Restaurant
Sushi

There's a minimum spend at this sushi and sashimi restaurant in Fitzrovia, so do the sensible thing: leave all decisions to those who know best, order the premium omakase menu: sashimi, appetisers (cold, grilled and deep fried), sushi, Japanese soup and dessert. If you've got to spend big, you may as well spend wisely. Ask for the sake pairing because you're in safe sake hands. Masayuki Kikuchi, the executive chef, was awarded the title of Honorable Sake Sommelier by the Sake Service Institute Japan back in 2007 so he knows his Junmai Ginjo, from his Honjozo, Junmai-shu, Junmai Daiginjo or Nigori sake. If possible, book ahead and ask to sit at the corner so you can watch the action unfold.

Image of Nanban

Brixton
Restaurant
Japanese

Japanese restaurants are often considered high-end, fine-dining affairs with strict ways of doing things. Head to Brixton Market to experience a more casual approach at Tim Anderson's ramen izakaya and cocktail bar, Nanban. The former MasterChef winner dishes out Japanese soul food, with a variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes in the mix. The margins on sake are deliberately low so it isn't seen as an expensive treat. The house sake is only £5! There's a Bunraku apricot appetiser sake; a ton of sake cocktails; a sake tasting flight for only £16; the floral, silky Shirayuki Daiginjo sake; the dry, savoury Gokai table sake; and the rich, peppery, cedar-aged Shochikubai Taruzake sake.

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