Yen, the Japanese soba noodle specialist on the Strand in central London, will close at the end of the month. A note on the restaurant’s website reads: “**Please be advised that there will be no soba noodle available until further notice.” Eater understands that the noodle chef recently departed the restaurant.
The smart, spacious, and minimalist restaurant, which moved to London from Paris’ upmarket St Germain district, in 2017, won plaudits from critics in London — “rustic noodles and flawless sashimi,” according to The Telegraph and “a first-rate kitchen,” per The Times — and had earned a reputation for being one of the best places to enjoy a speciality, which has not, like ramen, been commodified by operators in the London restaurant industry.
Eater London contributor Jonathan Nunn said he was not surprised that the restaurant is closing. Asked why, he said: “too expensive, wrong location, Londoners aren’t refined enough to get soba. In that order.”
The brand, owned by Onward Holdings Co. Ltd. — one of the largest fashion houses in Japan, established in the 1920s — has one other location is in Paris’ Saint-Germain-de-Prés neighbourhood, which opened in 2000. The London site is situated in what was a new, luxury residential development, 190 Strand. As well as hand-cut soba noodles, prepared on site twice a day, Yen served sushi, sashimi, tempura, robata-grilled meat, and other traditional Japanese dishes.
Eater has contacted representatives of Yen for the reasons behind the decision to close.