Kojawan – Taking innovation to new heights
Taking innovation to new heights, Kojawan is a seductively cool 21st century izakaya (an informal type of Japanese style gastropub), which has just opened on the 23rd floor of the London Hilton Metropole, just minutes from Marble Arch.
With unrivalled views of the metropolis, Kojawan brings together inventive dishes influenced by the far side of Asia, namely Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
Inside Kojawan, a comfortable hi-tech future reigns. Modish furnishings, sci-fi materials, manga graphics, bespoke videos, and multiple art installations give the space a zany retro-futuristic vibe – a look that’s quite unique in London.
‘Fun and exciting’ is the theme – including the K-Bar, offering a combination of Europe’s first Kirin Ichiban beer and raw bar, which, combined with the playful menus, exceptional view and imaginatively designed interior, creates a truly unique experience.
Designed by London-based artist and designer Henry Chebaane from studio Blue Sky Hospitality, the identity of the restaurant is a delicate balance of science-fiction film set mixed with urban art gallery, interplaying sleek design with comfortable, pod and swivel seating.
The collection of collaborative artwork includes a roster of international artists with their cultural roots in manga comics, animated movies, street graffiti, indie, rock and funk music. Named ‘Artscape’, this quirky collection found throughout the restaurant is as striking as the expansive window views overlooking the capital.
The stainless steel sculptural design of the venue’s ‘O’ bar evokes the multi-dimensional quality of the ‘ultra-brut’ label from house Champagne Laurent Perrier and its zero dosage, cool-fermenting and blending process, whilst the K-Bar is an abstraction of the barley molecule, housing more abstract art within its irregular alcoves. The front of the bar is tiled in a stunning kinetic scale-effect to resemble the skin of the Kirin, a Sino-Japanese mythological hybrid beast.
In addition, Kojawan serves up stellar talent in the form of acclaimed chefs Bjorn Van Der Horst and Omar Romero.
It feels fitting that these two should collaborate, given their similar training. Bjorn Van Der Horst (Greenhouse, La Noisette, Eastside Inn) and Omar Romero (Rhodes Twenty Four, Rosewood) have come together to create what is their ‘genuinely inauthentic’ interpretation of a 21st century izakaya.
Russell Oxtoby joins the team as head chef, having previously run the kitchen at two AA Rosette restaurant Berners Tavern and has worked in the industry for over thirteen years.
Organised by cooking style, the selection of refined dishes on offer reflects the sleek minimalism of the aluminium menus that showcase them. Irresistible ‘Booze Food’ dishes are an unusual play on fast-food classics such as crispy chicken with a hot/ cold dipping sauce, hot cricket bombs with citrus butter sauce and spicy crab dumplings.
‘Charcoal Oven’ and ‘Fire Stove’ dishes include crab and turnip or pork and green onion ‘egg cakes’ with Ibérico ham flakes; a show-stopping dish of fat noodles with clams, sake and fish flakes dancing in the heat of the bowl; BBQ beef cheek with chilli, ginger, and a perfectly tender octopus with lemon and smoked paprika.
Raw food lovers can feast on a ‘Sushi-style’ rice sandwich with spicy crab and wakamole; Suffolk wagyu tartar with pear, sea lettuce, chilli and sesame crackers; and watermelon sashimi with black radish.
Dilemma-inducing desserts include a new take on the Eton mess with lychee, green-tea meringue, whipped cream and a boozy hit of sake; ‘fish’ waffles with blueberries, black sesame and honey whiskey cream; and PanTako; a fluffy pancake with white chocolate and berries.
The drinks move effortlessly between East and West – a must-try is the signature ‘K-slurpy’ a refreshingly cold beer with a choice of frozen top from the Kirin bar. Then there’s the ‘Lar-gerita’ tequila combined with beer then frozen into a slushy.
These drinks and many more are easily dispatched by the knowledgeable ‘service crew’ who are on hand with their bespoke airline drinks trollies. In addition there’s the superb cocktails created by head mixologist Jonathan Lee.
House Champagne Laurent Perrier takes centre stage and an affordable wine list completes the picture, including biodynamic varieties, as well as Akashi Tai Sakes.
Technical Procurement Int
Specialising in project management and refurbishments throughout the leisure and hospitality industry, Technical Procurement have been in operation for six years – although the team have worked together for over 25 years.
Technical Procurement Int has worked on numerous hotel and restaurant projects throughout the UK and Europe, delivering a high quality, reliable service every time. Currently, Technical Procurement is completing the corporate UK HQ for Lycatel Mobile, together with restaurants in Leeds and Hull. Technical Procurement Int has also recently handed over the new concourse and hospitality suites for Leicester Tigers new stand.
Regarding involvements with the Kojawan restaurant, the company acted as main contractor for the refurbishment.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Tony Pinkstone, of Technical Procurement, to find out some information on the Kojawan renovation. Tony commented:
“This is a high profile project which will make a significant contribution to the London hospitality circuit. Situated on 24th Floor the restaurant has unique views across the London skyline which will provide a memorable setting.”
When asked what they pride themselves on as a company, Tony replied:
“We pride ourselves in cutting through unnecessary bureaucracy and delivering all projects to programme and budget with a high quality and efficiency that is second to none.”