It was my 50th birthday and I was looking for somewhere stylish to mark my passage into truly late middle age.
As we stepped out of the lift at Sasa, the sumptuous but stylish Japanese decor (complete with bonsais) framed the spectacular views over Sofia. We were courteously escorted to our table that we had booked over the internet.
Being typically English, we were the first to arrive to dine but as the evening went on, more and more couples and small groups arrived. The atmosphere was intimate and relaxing, a mood maintained by the music and the attentive staff even when the restaurant was full.
Our waiter expertly guided us through the menus (one for sushi and one a la carte) and we ordered our food which came promptly and was very well presented.
Our meal started with Shiro Miso Soy beans soup with tofu, seaweed and spring onions (180g for 4.99 leva). We ordered one between us and found that there was more than enough. Next we ordered Yasai Tempura Vegetables (200g for 7.99 leva). The batter was light and tasty and vegetables cooked to perfection. We then ordered a variety of Sushi (10 pieces for about 24 leva) served with horseradish sauce (not for those with a faint palate) and sliced ginger. There was even low-salt soya sauce. Throughout our meal, our glasses of Marques de Riscal Rueda 2007 verdejo/viuraRueda/Marques de Riscal (750 ml for 52.99 leva) were quietly re-filled by our attentive waiter.
We asked the waiter for his recommendation for our next course and he suggested Hotate Pari Adje Kadaif-fried scallops with sesame mayonnaise and egg sauce (100g for 15.99 leva). The scallops were delicious.
Somehow, possibly due to the effects of the wine, we managed a dessert which was Japanese apple pie, powdered with baked soy beans and served with vanilla ice cream (120g for 5.99 leva). After a further recommendation from our waiter and weak protestations from us about being too full, we tried black sesame ice cream (5.99 leva)
We were so impressed by the experience that we asked to meet the chef (Peta Mijaelkev) who duly arrived and explained that he worked in Sofia and Japan, an approach that undoubtedly works as the taste is authentically Japanese.
In total our memorable evening cost 118 leva. We left a 12 leva tip, bringing the bill up to 130 leva.