Sakura Pearl Continental Lahore Review by J Sheikh
The Pearl Continental recently brought it’s extremely popular Japanese restaurant, Sakura, to Lahore. Having never been to it in Karachi, I was quite eager to try it out. My expectations were high but, unfortunately, I have to say that the meal was substandard. However, I do have to say that since the restaurant opened only a couple of weeks ago, it is possible that their chef is still trying to get the hang of things and that Sakura may improve the quality of their food soon enough.
Sakura is now where the Royal Elephant used to be. That means that the Royal Elephant has shut down and Lahore doesn’t have a proper Thai restaurant anymore. I’m extremely sad about this because it was by far the best Thai place in Lahore. Sakura’s interior is exactly the same as its predecessor’s except for minor cosmetic changes. The color of the fabric on the chairs has changed, the curtains have been replaced with wooden Japanese blinds and the lady in the Thai dress that greets you when you enter now wears a Kimono.
We started off with some Rock Shrimp, Assorted Nigiri and Crunchy Maki. The only thing that was decent was the shrimp and that’s all it was. The problem with Sakura’s sushi was that the rice that they used was very sweet. (Please note that I don’t mean to say that it was sweeter than it should be since the rice shouldn’t be sweet at all). At the same time, I want to point out that the actual fish that they used in the sushi was very good but the combination with the sweet rice forced us to leave our sushi platter unfinished. For the main course, I tried out the Chicken Teriyaki, Crabstick Tempura and Chicken with Ginger and Soya Sauce. The tempura was cooked well and was by far best part of the meal. The teriyaki was decent but nothing spectacular. Lastly, the ginger lined chicken was exactly what you would expect to get if you had ordered it at a desi restaurant. I realize that choosing to eat that was not my smartest decision in the first place but I could have never imagined how desi it would taste. Please stay far away from this entrée.
The service at Sakura is as good as it ever was at Royal Elephant and the management is taking a keen interest in getting the patron’s opinions on the food. When we complained about the sushi, the chef came to talk to us personally about what didn’t like about the food and I appreciated that. Sakura is still new in Lahore and I would like to believe that their chef’s cooking will improve in the very near future. A lot of new restaurants can take time to gauge customer feedback and respond accordingly which is why I would try it again after some time.