Japanese-Inspired Dining Concept Ichibuns opens in London’s Chinatown
Ichibuns, the new Japanese-inspired dining concept, will launch its first restaurant on Wardour Street in the heart of London’s Chinatown on Friday (September 8).
A play on the Japanese term ‘ichiban’ – which literally translates as ‘Number One’ – Ichibuns promises to offer a dining experience like no other. The menu promises a selection of Hokkaido-inspired cuisine, including the ultimate Wagyu beef burger.
From the founders of Nobu, Busaba Ethai and Ping Pong, Ichibuns was created on the principles of providing the best quality produce at affordable prices alongside an unmissable restaurant experience.
The menu includes a selection of must-try dishes inspired by Japan’s food capital, Hokkaido. Signature dishes include: the Ichiban burger (made using a secret Wagyu beef blend served in a unique sake yeast bun); rich and flavourful ramen, made using a vegan (shiitake mushroom) stock; hand-rolled maki (by sushi master Endo Kazutoshi); and melt-in-your-mouth CocoWhip soft-serve, alongside a range of shakes and custom sealed to pop-and-go cocktails.
Stepping inside the three-storey central Soho venue, customers are immersed in the eclectic Tokyo rock-and-roll interior inspired by 50s and 60s Japanese subcultures and the quintessential American diner. Walls are lined in a variety of Japanese ephemera including Manga comics, old newspapers and Japanese fishing flags.
The 130-cover restaurant has been designed by Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Tokyo’s Studio Glitt, the design force behind London restaurant group Roka and Zuma. The Ichibuns interior pays homage to the Shōwa era in Japan, credited for the renovation of post war creativity and the acceptance of American music and culture. This vision has produced a striking celebration of authentic memorabilia that features throughout the venue.
On entering the restaurant, guests can order takeaway from the concrete counter which has been moulded to represent Japanese granite or will be guided to one of the restaurants three floors where they operate table service.
The plant-filled first floor includes two typical Japanese sunken tables and provides views overlooking bustling China Town.
The lower ground floor bar features a wall lined in Japanese pachenko machines (referencing the pin ball machines found in American diners) and another lined in Japanese craft beer cans.
The cocktail menu features a Japanese twist on classic cocktails including: Yuzu and Grapefruit Collins and the Smoked Whisky Negroni, all available to takeaway.