Review: Ishiyaki Lava Stone Steak at Sakagura Japanese Restaurant, London
Sakagura is one of our favourite Japanese restaurants in London, and last year we were treated to a fantastic sushi and sake extravaganza, which you can read more about here.
Last week we were lucky enough to be invited back to sample their ishiyaki lava stone steak. This type of 'cook your own' style of dining is popular in Japan and we can see why! If you fancy lunch with an element of theatre and interactivity (donning aprons, slicing your own beef and sizzling it on a hot stone) then we urge you to try it.
Now let me start by saying that my fiance and I are not die hard steak fans. Steak isn't something we usually order as we both agree that it can be a bit hit or miss (either it's overcooked or undercooked or just that bit too chewy). But... Sakagura has converted us! This was hands down the best steak either of us have eaten.
The beef itself is extremely high quality and using the razor sharp steak knives we were given, felt more like slicing through butter than slicing into a steak. I've (attempted to) cut beef at home and it was more of a sawing motion accompanied by frequent thoughts that I probably should have bought better quality beef and invested in a knife sharpener... But at Sakagura even the preparation part of our lunch was enjoyable, and we hadn't even reached the really fun part yet!
Once you've sliced your steak, it's ready to be cooked on the piping hot lava stone, and this is a really immersive experience; the sound of steak sizzling, the wonderful aroma, turning the steak on the stone and watching as it cooks and changes colour. The stone itself is heated to 400 degrees and remains piping hot throughout your meal. Ross is a 'well done' kind of man and I'm more of a medium rare so having the opportunity to cook steak to our exact personal tastes was brilliant.
Now, if you're nervous about cooking your own food...don't be! Our waitress explained exactly how to do it and I'm not the greatest chef in the land but managed to cook our steaks perfectly. So ganbatte! (go for it)
We chose the Australian Wagyu Sirloin but there are also options of Argentinian Sirloin and Argentinian Ribeye. We had an edamame bean starter (a firm favourite of ours) and then shared a steak along with rice and salad, which was the perfect amount of food for lunch time dining. A choice of sauces are available including horse radish, fresh wasabi, ponzu oroshi, soyadare and misodare. You also get a hot mustard, sea salt and chillis for some extra seasoning. Have a look at the menu here to get your mouth watering!
It's generally the Japanese way to share a dessert (I learnt that the hard way in Japan when I tried to wolf down a dessert meant for about 4 people at a business lunch...) but Ross and I are dessert fiends so we got two and shared them. We both love matcha green tea so opted for matcha and wasabi chocolate ice cream and a matcha tiramisu.
If you haven't visited Sakagura yet then I urge you to! Tucked away in a quiet area just behind regent street this is the perfect place to visit for a business lunch, a romantic date (opt for a booth with curtain for some date night privacy) or just to sit at the bar and sample some high quality Japanese cocktails, whisky or sake. Sakagura brings together in harmony everything we love about Japanese dining; the calm atmosphere, tasteful decor and attentive and helpful staff.
At the time of writing you can download a voucher for £35 for 2 for your Ishiyaki lunch at Sakagura here. T&C's apply.
Have you tried ishiyaki dining? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.