What is reportedly Europe’s largest Japanese food hall — Ichiba — is now open inside Westfield London, the shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, west London. The opening, by the operators of central London’s Japan Centre, is part of the development’s £600m expansion. It had been expected to open in March of this year.
The enormous, 17,400 sq ft flagship store includes food stations dedicated to ready-to-eat food, cooked on site, while the main food hall will offer a large range of imported Japanese goods and kitchen essentials: from rice, miso and soy sauce, to a wide selection of sake, rice crackers, and confectionery, books and artisanal ceramics. The Japan Centre’s existing store close to Piccadilly Circus is already known for offering central London’s most comprehensive selection of Japanese ingredients and products.
The food stations now open include:
- Katsu curries to sushi and sashimi, street food including takoyaki, tempura and noodles made to order.
- A traditional Japanese bakery and café serving items such as dorayaki pancakes with teas including hot or iced matcha lattes.
- A kaku-uchi sake bar, serving hot sake and regional artisan sake handpicked by an in-store sake sommelier.
- A noodle bar where visitors can sample freshly prepared noodles and tonkotsu ramen.
“Theatrical kitchens” have been placed around seating for over 200 covers, which will schedule weekly cooking demonstrations, workshops, events, regional food and drink festivals, and sake tasting seminars on site.
Ichiba is also the first joint venture between the Japan Centre Group and Cool Japan Fund, which is designed to “help support businesses to promote Japanese food and culture overseas.”
Funds partnerships with local and artisan suppliers across Japan will allow Ichiba to offer authentic products and rare regional produce from some of the best producers and farmers exclusively to the UK.
Ichiba’s addition to Westfield London is just the latest in a string of new food businesses to have opened in the Hammersmith, Shepherd’s Bush, and White City neighbourhoods. The former BBC Television Centre, which opened earlier this year, includes a number of notable new restaurant operators. It has been billed as the “premier dining destination in west London.”
Take a peek inside Ichiba, the latest major food operation to open in west London, here: