Sakura a casual Japanese hub

Rima Al-Mukhtar

Published — Wednesday 12 December 2012

Last update 12 December 2012 12:22 am

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Sakura is Japanese for cherry blossom. It is also a Jeddah-based casual dining Japanese restaurant located on the ground floor of Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The restaurant is perfect for business meetings and gatherings of family and friends who are looking for a modern Japanese meal in an easy-going ambiance, served by friendly staff.
The restaurant’s décor is an upscale contemporary style with all wooden walls, tables and chairs. As soon as diners walk in, they will find a sushi bar that seats up to six diners and overviews an open kitchen. Here diners can enjoy the live cooking show. An artistic bamboo partition separates the single and family section. Sakura can seat up to 68 guests at once and they offer outside catering and in-house private parties.
Sakura is known for the business lunches they offer at a great prize for a reasonable portion; you get more than what you pay for. The lunch plates, called Chef Bento or Sakura Bento, come in three styles, designed to satisfy all tastes. I would highly recommend the Chef Bento A. It comes with a starter of miso soup, then sushi and maki rolls, grilled beef with amiyaki sauce, seafood tempura, grilled chicken and fried rice.
Sakura’s menu is rich with both traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes. The beef salad is a highly recommended appetizer. It is made with Japanese Wagyu beef, sliced carrot, cabbage, sweet ginger, red onions, coriander and sesame. The dish is differently refreshing.
Sushi is an art for the senses. Everything is important, the smell, texture, presentation and taste and I would say Sakura achieved it all. The cut of the seafood and the sushi roll is just perfect. The sashimi contains delicious, freshly cut fish that you can simply never get enough of it. The assorted maki dish Mariawase comes with 38 pieces of delicious sushi, enough to satisfy four diners.
One can also design their own boat from Sakura’s rich sushi menu and choose what they like the most. Great taste and presentation is guaranteed.
Sakura’s Vietnamese Head Chef Ho Dinh Son recommends the teppanyaki special menu that comes with different sets to satisfy all. The Kaisen set consists of mixed seafood teppanyaki, sashimi or maki mixed salad, seasonal vegetables, miso soup and a choice of fried rice or fried noodles. The Tori Teppanyaki set is the same but with chicken and the Wagyu Beef set is made with beef.
Sakura is the only Japanese restaurant in Jeddah that offers hot pot. Their chef came up with three kinds on the menu: one with Wagyu beef, and one Yasani Nabe for vegetarians.
For drinks, I recommend the Shangria: A drink with fresh fruit cubes mixed with red grape juice and orange juice. I also recommend the Cherry blossom juice that is made with fresh peach and orange juice, mixed with red cherry and a dash of lemon, sparkling water and almond milk.
The best part of the meal comes last. Sakura offers a rich menu with different kinds of Japanese authentic deserts made especially for those with a sweet tooth. The deep friend tempura ice cream is a must-try. It is vanilla flavored ice cream, coated with tempura batter and fried. It comes hot and crunchy on the outside and cold and creamy on the inside. The banana tempura is another smart choice with vanilla ice cream, and strawberry sauce drizzled on top.

Opening hours: Lunch is from 12.30 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. and dinner is from 7.00 p.m. until midnight.
Expect to pay: Lunch SR 100 and dinner SR 160.

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