Noma to open new restaurant in Japan

27 April, 2018 by
Brittney Levinson

Two-Michelin-starred restaurant Noma will open its first permanent restaurant outside of Copenhagen in Japan called Inua.

Set to open on 29 June, Inua will be led by former Noma chef Thomas Frebel in partnership with Noma head chef and co-owner René Redzepi.

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Redzepi welcomed the chef’s move to Japan after working together for nearly ten years.

“I can directly relate so much of Noma’s success to his work ethic and spirit,” says Redzepi.

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“He’s the most talented and hardworking chef I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. With Inua, Thomas has the opportunity to find his voice as a chef and make an imprint in one of the greatest food cultures on earth. This wasn’t so much a goodbye as a continuation of our shared creativity.”

German-born Frebel says he was inspired by the time he spent in Tokyo for Noma’s Japanese pop-up in 2015.

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“When I was here with Noma, I felt this strong connection with Japan,” he says. “I was drawn to the landscape, the culture and the ingredients. When we left, I felt a sense of not being finished with my time in Japan. Fulfilling my dream, I’m excited to be back in Tokyo, one of the world’s greatest food cities, to open and share Inua.”

Over the past few years, Frebel has been travelling across Japan in search of new ingredients, developing an understanding of Japanese culture and building personal connections with the producers and suppliers.

The 60-seat restaurant will serve Nordic-influenced dishes, showcasing Japanese ingredients such as mountain vegetables, fruit from Okinawa and seafood from Hokkaido.

“During my trips exploring the rich greenery of the Scandinavian countries and in the deep forests of Japan, I realised the strong connections and similarities that are shared between the west and the east,” says Frebel.

“We wanted to combine those distinct flavours and cultures in different ways, using Japanese ingredients and a Nordic sensibility.”

Danish design company OEO Studio is leading the restaurant design, which combine Danish and Japanese craftsmanship.

“Our vision was to create a Japanese-Nordic design utopia in terms of interiors and atmosphere,” says Thomas Lykke from OEO Studio. “We have worked with local materials as well as Japanese inspired details and applied them in a more Nordic way as well as in novel and unexpected ways.”

Inua will be located on the ninth floor of the Fujimi building in Chiyoda, central Tokyo and is open for bookings now.

Image credit: GQ