ikisho is a team of Japanese culinary experts, passionate to bring Japan and the 'omotenashi' culture to your dining room. We serve sushi like in a traditional sushi restaurant in Japan - bespoke, interactive and live.
An ikisho experience starts with us understanding your preferences and needs. Our 'itamae' master sushi chefs will then design and serve a tailor-made menu that can be likened to an artistic expression, while a sake expert selects the perfect brew to accompany each dish. The ikisho experience embodies our 'omotenashi' spirit with sensitivity, flexibility and knowledge, making sure everyone is taken care of throughout the meal.
Founder, Tetsuro Hama
Tetsuro Hama, the founder and brains behind ikisho was born Nagano, Japan in 1948. He always had an industrious and adventurous spirit and had his heart set on travelling as soon as he finished his degree. Being driven and determined, Tetsuro managed to scrape together the money to buy a ticket for the Trans-Siberian Express - a gruelling journey (two weeks spanning the breadth of Asia and Europe) reaching London in October 1971.
"When I arrived, there were only four or five Japanese restaurants in London so I thought there might be a business opportunity for a casual-style Japanese restaurant that wouldn't cost a fortune" Following a daring proposition, the owner of a Bayswater hotel agreed with Tetsuro that an on-site restaurant would bring in more business for the hotel; "and that is how I started my first business here in London" smiles Tetsuro.
Since those lean early days, Tetsuro has gone from strength to strength, bringing his drive, enthusiasm and integrity to other companies as well as contributing to the British economy: Hama - that first restaurant in Bayswater; San-Taiyo Ltd - a company for trading between the United Kingdom and Japan; JEM (Japan & Europe Motors, the first Japanese motor dealer in Britain); JEMCA Plc, the first Japanese-owned Toyota dealership in the UK - formed in 1991 and went on to win several awards and in 1993 Tetsuro was selected as an inaugural member of the Toyota Presidents Club, an honour awarded to large-volume dealers only; So Restaurant in Picadilly - opened in 2003; Sozai Japanese Cooking School - set up in east London in 2013; The Japanese Culinary Academy - Tetsuro helped set it up in 2015 and is chairman; eho chef - an e-platform private chef service; and now ikisho.
EHO LIMITED trading as ikisho
Unit 3 Hyde Estate Road, London, NW9 6JX
Tel: 0207 112 9365
Company registration number: 09965360
'itamae' means 'skilled chef' in Japanese. ikisho sushi 'itamae's have cultivated a discerning eye to source the best ingredients and have honed the art of preparing them in the best way to bring out and enhance their flavours and 'umami' to perfection. They are dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate about creating an outstanding dining experience.
Born in Hokkaido, Matsuya completed his culinary education at 17. After obtaining his cook's license he joined the self-defense forces of Japan and for 15 years cooked for many VIPs of many nations as the forces' chef. After starting his own venture, he took a position at SO Restaurant, London, as the Head Sushi Chef. He is currently Head Sushi Chef at Miyama Mayfair and also works as a sushi teacher at Sozai Cooking School.
Born in Fukuoka, Maruyama started learning sushi 'nigiri' making at a young age from his father who owned a sushi restaurant. Maruyama worked at Ginzakoju, Tokyo, followed by a position as executive chef at Nobu London, after which he opened his own restaurant in Monaco. Currently, Maruyama is the executive chef at Kiru, Chelsea and has been since they opened doors and has also fed the leaders of the world at TICAD 2016 in Kenya and at the Annual meeting in Davos in 2017. Maruyama's diverse culinary experiences enable him to work with a wide variety of ingredients.
Born in Tochigi prefecture to a family running a Sushi restaurant, Yamaguchi made his first nigiri-zushi at the tender age of 3. At 16 he served his first Sushi as a professional Chef, and at 18 he moved to Tsukiji, Tokyo to train at the renown sushi restaurant 'Edogin' for 5 years. Inspired by the growing Sushi demand overseas, Yamaguchi relocated to England at age 28, and has since worked as the Head Sushi Chef at prestigious restaurants such as Matsuri Restaurant, Zuma and Victoria Kozu. He has extensive catering experiences at events at the British Museum and Dorchester Hotel. The father of two holds a current position as Head Sushi Chef at So Restaurant, Soho, London. A self-confessed sushi-craze, he cannot stop thinking about Sushi.
Chef Hayashi started his apprenticeship at 18 years old under Yoshihiro Murata, the 3rd owner and chef of the much-revered ryoutei (traditional style high-end Japanese restaurant) 'Kikunoi' that first opened in 1912. When 'Kikunoi' opened a branch in Akasaka, Tokyo in 2004 he was appointed sous chef, that followed by a position as Head chef of two Japanese Restaurants at The Windsor Hotel in Toyako, Hokkaido. In 2008 he supervised the Japanese cuisine for the G8 Summit and the following year his passion to promote Japanese cuisine took him to Europe. Recent years his work has expanded globally, including being responsible for the food at the Annual meeting in Davos. Currently he is the Vice-chairman of the Japanese Culinary Academy UK and executive chef at the Washoku Restaurant 'TOKIMEITE' that opened in London in November 2015.
ikisho partners with the leading sake promoter in the country, Rie Yoshitake, for the ultimate sushi and sake Japanese culture experience. We select and serve the perfect brew in the temperature and serving style according to the variety to enhance your 'omakase' menu. Alternatively, your sake can be paired and delivered to you before your event.
We focus on three points when pairing sake; flavour, texture and acidity. The flavour can either complement or contrast. Lean fish, like tuna sashimi can be complemented with a similar light-bodied sake. Or a contrasting pairing would be like a fruity, citrus sake with a savoury dish like grilled mackerel. The texture, i.e. body of sake and how it feels in the mouth, can range from structured to soft and subtle. Textured dishes like grilled eel are perfect with a full-bodied and acidic sake of equal structure. Or some may prefer to go for contrast and pair smooth and dry sake to cut through the oil of the eel. The acidity in sake helps to break down lipids (fats and oils) and spread flavour. Fatty fish, especially raw, such as horse mackerel, are enhanced with sake with more acidity. The sake will help dissolve the fats and gently diffuse the wonderful flavours. On the other hand, a more subtle fish like red snapper may be overwhelmed by such acidity. Our experts will match sake of perfect harmony and balance for your bespoke ikisho menu.
Just like wine, sake is rich in variety. It's complexity, elegance, and price point depend on how polished the grains of rice are that are used to make it. Generally speaking, the more polished the sake, the cleaner the taste. The recommended serving temperature of sake varies greatly by type, as do the serving cups; porcelain, earthenware, glasses or wooden cups. Some examples of sakes we will pair include; 発泡日本酒 'Happou Nihonshu' (sparkling sake), 純米 'Junmai' (strong rice flavour and aroma), 吟醸 'Ginjo' (fragrant and fruity), 大吟醸 'Daiginjo' (sophisticated and refined fragrance and flavor), 生 'Nama' (unpasturised, fresh taste), 古酒 'Koshu' (aged, vintage sake, refined mature aromas and rich, deep, sweet flavours), にごり酒 'Nigori' (milky and robust cloudy sake), and refreshing dessert sakes including 梅酒 'Ume-shu' (plum wine) and ゆず酒 'Yuzu-shu' (citrus fruit wine).
Rie Yoshitake is the leading sake ambassador in Europe, where she represents the Sake Samurai Association (SSA) and the Japan Sake and Shochu Maker's Association (JSSA). She has been instrumental in organising the world's largest sake competition at the International Wine Challenge (IWC).
Rie is currently spearheading a series of sake campaigns at Japanese embassies, major universities and international corporations across Europe and the U.K. She has come to be known as the "Sake Lady" of London, her adopted home, where she received the Japanese Minister's Award for her contribution towards raising the profile of Japan's national drink and cuisine. She also runs her international business consultancy Yoshitake & Associates, which bridges Japan and U.K. businesses.
Client dinner with ikisho was very smooth and successful. Will definitely book again.
What a delightful experience to see such skills up close!
The booking process was easy and the Sushi was exquisite!
The best Sushi and Sake experience ever - the connoisseur was so knowledgeable!
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