Japanese Restaurant Openings Early Summer 2018
Catch up on all the latest Japanese restaurant news from London, including Kurobuta’s Scott Hallsworth’s new venture and not one but two new restaurants from sushi chef Endo Kazutoshi.
Freak Scene by Kurobuta’s Scott Hallsworth Now Open - March 2018
Founded by chef Scott Hallsworth and co-founder Phar Shaweewan, this new pan-Asian restaurant in Soho started life as a pop-up in Clerkenwell but has now arrived at a permanent site on Frith Street near Tottenham Court Road tube station. Taking its inspiration from Singapore’s bustling hawker centres, the overall vibe is very high energy, with a full-on indie playlist and projections of the Japanese game show Takeshi’s Castle lighting up the walls.
Hallsworth was head chef at Nobu Park Lane for several years before he founded the successful Kutobuta izakaya, and the menu at Freak Scene retains some of Kurobuta’s greatest hits (such as the tastebud-tickling salmon sashimi ‘pizza’) while simultaneously adding to the repertoire with a series of what the restaurant’s website describes as ‘curious Asian plates’.
The style of dishes at Freak Scene is best described as Asian fusion rather than pure Japanese, with Japanese dishes getting an Asian twist or vice versa. Yellowtail sashimi accompanied by a Thai dipping sauce and Loch Duart smoked salmon pizza topped with truffle ponzu, jalapeno and wasabi tobiko are both a case in point. Several of the dishes are served in moreish taco shells doused in divinely sticky sauces, perfect for greedily scooping up with bare hands - the miso-grilled black cod and sushi rice tacos, for example, reinvents a Nobu classic as classic Hallsworth junk food.
The drinks selection is as unusual as the food, with yeast-based cocktails, aromatic wines, and iced teas on offer. Diners can choose to sit at a table in the main restaurant or perch on stools in front of an open robata grill-equipped kitchen overseen by the man himself.
Address: 54 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SL
Make Good Food Memories at Omoide - Spring 2018
German-Japanese chef Angelo Sato has worked in some of the best Michelin-starred kitchens in top locations around the globe such as Tokyo, New York, and London, including some of London’s biggest hitters, such as Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant and Trinity. He has also been head chef at Restaurant Story and, more recently, has launched Mission Sato, a healthy fast food bento box business.
Now, following on from a successful residency at Carousel earlier this year, Sato is set to open his first solo restaurant venture this spring. It is set to showcase his distinctive style of progressive Japanese cuisine complemented by European accents, so expect to find a range of exciting hybrid flavours on the menu, such as pork belly with daikon and mustard, oyster tempura with kombu seaweed, and desserts such as custard with tea and burnt sugar.
Address: London, TBA
Second Inko Nito Branch to Open in Soho - May 2018
This new restaurant on Soho’s Broadwick Street will be the latest robata grill restaurant from restaurateur Rainer Becker, who also founded the successful Zuma and Roka brands. Having opened the first branch of Inko Nito in downtown Los Angeles in late 2017, Zuma is turning its attention to London for the brand’s second outing.
The restaurant, which will have capacity for around 95 diners, is set to be a casual affair, featuring an open kitchen where diners will be able to watch their food being prepared over a robata charcoal grill. The food on offer is being billed as “Japanese charcoal grilled cooking with a Korean influence”, and includes menu items such as:
Beef cheek, spicy Korean miso, pickled daikon, butter lettuce
Bone marrow, smoked soy, garlic toast, shallot
Yellowtail collar, brown butter ponzu, lemon
Sweet potato in husk, chili nori butter, chives
There’ll also be a selection of nigaki - roasted nori seaweed with sushi rice served with a choice of toppings such as crab, avocado, wasabi tobiko and yuzu mayo or fried shrimp with spicy Korean miso and sesame.
Drinks and dessert lists are both kept brief and to the point, with just one dessert on offer and a handful of beverages including sake, Californian wines, Japanese beers and some interesting-sounding cocktails - we’re stuck for choice between the nori (yes, you read that correctly!) old fashioned and the house spritz with watermelon, aperol, yuzu and sparkling wine.
Address: 55 Broadwick Street, Broadwick Street, W1F 9QS
Endo at Rotunda: Exclusive New Sushi Restaurant at the BBC - July 2018
Endo Kazutoshi, former executive sushi chef at the Zuma group, will open a sushi restaurant at the Television Centre in White City. The restaurant is named after the space it will occupy, in the rotunda at the top of the former BBC headquarters and will have space for only 15 diners at a time, so expect this to be London’s next hotlist dining destination.
For the new venture, Endo is teaming up with Benjamin Goldkorn and ex-Nobu Busaba Eathai’s Robin Leigh, the same partners that he joined forces with to open Ichibuns, and they’re also bringing in renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma to mastermind the project on the design front, so expect big things here too.
As for his ambitions for the new restaurant, it seems the sky is the limit, as Endo has already stated his aim of achieving Michelin star status. However his impressive background suggests that this goal is possibly not out of reach - the third-generation sushi chef has over two decades’ experience working at Zuma and other top restaurants in London, Spain, the USA and beyond.
Address: 101 Wood Lane, London, W12 7FR
Self-Titled Restaurant Endo Kazutoshi to Open in Soho - Summer 2018Not content with opening one new restaurant this year, chef Endo Kazutoshi is planning to open a self-titled restaurant in Soho’s Beak Street in addition to his forthcoming snug 15-seater sushi bar in the rotunda at the former BBC Television Centre.
Details are thin on the ground as yet, but based on Endo’s past performances prospective customers can expect top-notch sushi if nothing else, with the restaurant’s website stating that the new restaurant’s guiding philosophy will be ‘harmony, precision and tranquility’.Address: 61-63 Beak Street, London, W1F 9SL
TITU Gyoza Bar and All-Day Restaurant Now Open - March 2018
TITU gyoza bar opened in Mayfair’s Shepherd Market at the end of March. Tucked away in a corner of Shepherd Market, this dinky all-day Japanese bar with seating for just 15 diners serves up gyoza, crispy chicken wings, soft-shell crab salads, and tonka bean beignet for dessert (no, we don’t know what that is either…).
In keeping with the small space and seating capacity, the menu has been pared back to offer a limited but carefully chosen selection of gyoza, such as Wagyu Beef and Black Pepper and Spicy Prawn and Asparagus and Shiitake mushroom, with reports of plans to adjust the available fillings according to the season.
There will be a separate breakfast menu on weekdays, offering all-day breakfasts that are guaranteed to please the palate whatever the time of day, from green tea pancakes to Oeuf a la Coque with asparagus soldiers and watercress. And for those who’d rather have their all-day breakfast in bed, all dishes are available to take away too.
Address: 1A Shepherd St, Mayfair, London W1J 7HJ
Hot Stone: DIY Hot Stone Cooking in Islington - February 2018
Another one that slipped under the radar - Hot Stone, a steak and sushi bar offering DIY hot stone cooking, opened up in Islington’s Chapel Market back in February. If you enjoy interactive dining experiences then this is absolutely the place for you - it delivers a sizzling selection of starters such as sushi and sashimi in addition to a variety of main courses prepped and ready for diners to cook to their liking on a piping hot stone.
Kick off with a few platefuls of their mouthwatering appetisers - such as crispy rice with spicy tuna tartare and pickled radish, octopus carpaccio with radish, fennel and truffle mustard sauce - to get your tastebuds warmed up before moving onto the main event. Choose from a variety of meat and fish, including Wagyu and tuna, to grill to perfection on your hot stone, or opt for a bibimbap bowl instead.
Address: 9 Chapel Market, London N1 9EZ
Win a Games Room Session for You and Your Mates at Inamo!
With Mario Kart racing, Singstar karaoke battles, and Fifa 2018 tournaments, The Games Room at Inamo Soho is guaranteed to bring out your competitive side whatever the occasion - whether company away day or private birthday function.
Inamo is known for its high-tech dining environments, and the Soho branch’s games room is no exception, with double wall projections spanning over 150 inches and over 150 games available on a range of popular games consoles - plus all manner of other gadgets, including Apple TV, Chromecast, and even an Atari Gold for the hardcore retro gamers out there.
Until the end of May, if you enquire about hiring the room for a company shindig (or a ‘serious’ board meeting - it’s up to you!) then you could be in with the chance of winning a free session for yourself and up to 19 friends/colleagues (again - it’s up to you!) worth a whopping £750.
The prize comes with a power-up buffet of Asian tapas and sushi and an upmarket drinks package in addition to use of the room. All you have to do to enter is to watch the video on Square Meal’s website and make an enquiry using the Enquire button underneath.