Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Tasty Slice of Tokyo; A Stunning 21st Century Refit Has Made Japanese Restaurant Moshi Moshi a Rare Gem of Interior Design

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Tasty Slice of Tokyo; A Stunning 21st Century Refit Has Made Japanese Restaurant Moshi Moshi a Rare Gem of Interior Design

Article excerpt

Byline: FAY SWEET

WITH the films Lost In Translation and The Last Samurai attracting huge audiences and a shelf-full of awards, our fascination with all things Japanese has re-ignited.

While the cultural gulf between East and West is a central theme in both films, the beauty and ingenuity of Japanese design and our appetite for Japanese food has for a long time provided a bridge between the different cultures. And so, with perfect timing, a rare gem of contemporary Japanese interior design has recently been completed inside Liverpool Street station for Moshi Moshi, a boutique-style restaurant that sits above Platform 1.

Ten years ago, Moshi Moshi introduced Londoners to the novelty of watching an endless stream of tiny plates of sushi rattle around on conveyor belts. A decade on, plenty has changed: dozens of Japanese restaurants have opened across the capital, we all know our sushi from our sashimi, and that to avoid causing embarrassment it is better not to say "chin-chin" before knocking back the sake (it is Japanese for penis).

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Liverpool Street branch of this small chain of restaurants - four in London and one in Brighton - has employed the services of one of Japan's leading designers, Yusaku Kaneshiro, for a 21st century Tokyo-style transformation.

It is his first London project.

"Yusaku is only in his 30s, but he is incredibly prolific, much in demand and designs more than 30 restaurants a year," says Moshi Moshi spokesman Eddie McAdam.

Kaneshiro is heading up a revival of interest in home-grown talent. In years past it has been the fashion to employ Western designers, including Philippe Starck and Nigel Coates, to work on Japanese restaurants and hotels, but this is now being turned on its head.

Among Kaneshiro's huge portfolio of projects, his most exuberant interiors are those for Tokyo hotspots Epice, Ko-Tona and the Doce Bar. "He's best known for the way he handles space," says McAdam. "In Tokyo, in particular, because space is at a real premium, Yusaku has captured imaginations with the way he can take quite unpromisingly small places and pack them full of intrigue. …

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