A Japanese chef of estimable pedigree will open a new kaiseki restaurant in Marylebone this November. Chef Daisuke Hayashi’s Roketsu will open at 12 New Quebec Street, drawing on his two decades of training under Yoshihiro Murata at the three-Michelin-starred Kikunoi Honten in Kyoto — and a short preview at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair from early 2020.
Hayashi and the team have been keeping its location under wraps, but a post from property agent Shelley Sandzer tied to 12 New Quebec Street says:
“Split across two floors, the restaurant also includes a dedicated area where customers can witness and engage in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The interior has been designed by the late Sotoji Nakamura’s family business, known for authentic Japanese tea rooms and the Edi Koji shopping alley at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo.”
While Hayashi has history in London — at wagyu kappo specialist Tokemeite in Mayfair, and the short-lived Chrysan in Broadgate — the most direct influence on his career is his relationship with Murata. While he partnered with Hayashi and the Hakkasan Group on Chrysan, it is his Kyoto kaiseki restaurant that has shaped Hayashi’s career and propelled him to open his own in a city that is yet to fully take to both its substance and its substantial influence on fine dining globally.
As Eater London contributor Feroz Gajia noted in his preview of the most exciting openings in 2021,
“In theory Roketsu, a Japanese Kaiseki restaurant owned by Daisuke Hayashi ... should be the biggest opening of the year and maybe if it was in Paris or Spain it would be but it’s in London so we wait nervously to see if it delivers on the promise and fear the eye watering sums it will command.”
While Umu, another Mayfair Michelin star, describes itself as a “Kyoto kaiseki experience,” it serves its menu as an option alongside an a la carte; Roketsu will serve a kaiseki menu alone. Kaiseki-ryōri (or simply kaiseki) refers to a traditional Japanese multi-course meal, whose origins lie in dishes served at the Zen Buddhist tea ceremony as much as Japan’s historic aristocracy. The idea, and ideology, of kaiseki has since evolved — largely thanks to its huge, too often unspoken influence on western ideas of fine dining — in step with its adoption by Japan’s aristocratic classes. A useful way to think about it is as formal, or structured, rather than “elevated” or high, as its roots extend across Japanese society and can include a bento box as much as a ten-course meal.
Hayashi had responded to the closure of restaurants with serene, luxurious bento boxes, delivered around London at the price of £50, but now the city waits for him to unleash his iteration of the kaiseki tradition on London diners.