Yakiniku restaurant Kanpai Classic heads to UK

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Yakiniku restaurant Kanpai Classic heads to UK

Related tags Kanpai Classic Taiwanese cuisine

Japanese restaurant Kanpai Classic will make its UK debut later this summer following success in Taiwan and China.

On Soho’s Wardour Street, the restaurant will specialise in yakiniku - bite-size pieces of meat and vegetables over a charcoal flame - and will place a heavy emphasis on wagyu. 

The Kanpai Group, which operates nine restaurant brands across 68 sites in Taiwan and China, launched its take on yakiniku in the Taiwanese capital Taipei in 2005.

Cut to the specific requirements of the diner, the meat is then ‘expertly sliced and seasoned’. It is then grilled by one of Kanpai Classic’s staff on smokeless and odourless charcoal grillers fitted to each individual table.

A selection of up to 10 different cuts of aged wagyu beef will be available alongside a number of other proteins and vegetables. 

Overseen by executive chef Nicolo Bolognesi, formerly of Nobu Hotel Portman Square, Kanpai Classic’s 86-cover, two-floor London outpost will initially offer a 14-course omakase menu but a full a la carte menu is planned for September. 

Aged for a minimum of 40 days, the wagyu is being billed as 'intricately marbled and delivering a tender, melt-in- the-mouth taste sensation' and will be sourced from two main UK suppliers: Jack’s Creek, which has considerable success at the World Steak Challenge awards, and Tajimaya, which sources wagyu directly from its own farms in Japan.

The food will be complemented by an extensive drinks list that will include 10 exclusive sakes from Japan’s Masuizumi Brewery.

“Having introduced wagyu to Taiwan and China, we’re about to do the same in Europe,” says Kanpai Group CEO and founder Soji Hiraide. 

“We can’t wait to give London its first proper taste of the world’s finest beef!”

The Kanpai Group story began in June 1999 in the East District of Taipei in Taiwan, when CEO and founder Soji Hiraide launched a tiny yakiniku restaurant while still a student.

The business, which also incorporates meat importation, e-commerce and pet food, employs nearly 2,500 people and has an annual turnover of £125 million.

Shelley Sandzer acted on behalf of Kanpai on the deal for the 147-149 Wardour Street site, which is expected to soft launch in July. 

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