Born and raised in the picturesque port city of Kobe in central Japan, Chef Daisuke Hayashi’s culinary journey began with a childhood passion for fishing and the art of preparing the catch.
His formal foray into the culinary world commenced at the age of 18 in Kyoto, where he joined the prestigious two Michelin-starred Kikunoi Roan.
This culinary haven, under the tutelage of Chef Yoshihiro Murata, a globally acclaimed figure in Japanese gastronomy, became the crucible for Hayashi’s culinary skills.
Nurturing Traditions at Kikunoi Roan
Chef Yoshihiro Murata, the third-generation master chef of the original Kikunoi Honten, founded in 1912, instilled in Hayashi a profound appreciation for Japanese culinary traditions.
Kikunoi Honten, now holding three Michelin stars, stands as a beacon of gastronomic pilgrimage. Chef Murata’s philosophy, developed over 50 years, emphasises preserving and celebrating Japanese culinary techniques while propelling the cuisine onto the global stage.
Kikunoi Roan, Chef Murata’s second restaurant, became the training ground where Hayashi honed his skills.
In 2004, Hayashi’s culinary prowess led him to Tokyo, where he played a pivotal role in the opening of Kikunoi Akasaka and assumed the position of Sous Chef. This experience provided him with valuable insights into the intricacies of launching a new restaurant.
In 2008, he ascended to the role of Head Chef at two Japanese restaurants in the Windsor Hotel, Hokkaido, culminating in overseeing Japanese cuisine at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit.
A Global Culinary Odyssey
Motivated by a desire to explore the culinary world and promote Japanese food culture on a global scale, Hayashi ventured to London in 2009. As the Executive Chef of Sake no Hana, he contributed to the restaurant’s star-studded reopening, earning acclaim in the vibrant London culinary scene.
His journey continued with the opening of Chrysan in the City of London in 2012, followed by a 2-year promotion of Japanese cuisine in the capital.
In 2019, propelled by the success of his promotional work and the rising demand for Japanese cuisine internationally, Hayashi unveiled his culinary masterpiece, Roketsu, in Marylebone near Marble Arch.
As one of the few global masters of the Kaiseki tradition, he aimed to deliver an authentic Japanese dining experience to Londoners, immersing them in the multi-sensory art of Kaiseki, a celebration of seasons.
Roketsu, which opened in December 2021, garnered critical acclaim, establishing Chef Daisuke Hayashi as a culinary luminary. In 2022, he received the prestigious Minister’s Award for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food from the Government of Japan, a testament to his contribution to promoting Japanese culture overseas.
Roketsu: Beyond a Restaurant
Situated at 12 New Quebec Street, a stone’s throw from Marble Arch Underground station, Roketsu transcends the label of a mere restaurant. It stands as a genuine representation of the Japanese Kaiseki experience, a rarity outside Japan and the sole ambassador of this culinary artistry in London.
Rooted in the formal tea ceremony, Kaiseki presents an exquisite menu featuring sakizuke, hassun, mukozuke, Wanmono, yakimono, sunomino, shiizakana, gohan, and mizumono. Hayashi, a master of Kaiseki, leads the kitchen, delivering an equivalent experience to European fine dining, with a carefully orchestrated front of house.
The name Roketsu, drawn from a 17th-Century Japanese tea master’s tale, embodies a profound connection without words. The restaurant’s interiors, tableware, and ingredients blend seamlessly, offering guests a gracefully choreographed dining experience.
Designed and constructed in Japan by Nakamura Sotoji Komuten, Roketsu’s interior exudes elegance and tranquillity. Elements like ceramic tiles, Oribe ware colours, and traditional Juraku walls create a serene ambience. The Hinoki wood counter, camellia pillar, and Kitayama cedar louvres reflect the meticulous attention to detail.
Washoku Culture: A Culinary Heritage
Roketsu’s menus embrace the UNESCO-listed Washoku culture, revolving around the five flavours, five senses, five colours, and five cooking methods. The cuisine, rooted in the seasons, pays homage to Shun, Hashiri, and Nagori, reflecting the prime, pre-, and post-prime periods of each ingredient.
Every aspect of Roketsu, from the Hinoki wood counter to the curated private room, reflects Japanese authenticity. The restaurant’s understated elegance complements the intricate artistry of its kitchen, offering a globally celebrated gastronomic experience that transcends both place and time.
Roketsu welcomes patrons from Tuesday to Saturday, providing a dinner extravaganza from 6-10 pm. Additionally, Thursdays and Fridays offer a lunch experience from 12-2 pm, inviting connoisseurs to indulge in Chef Daisuke Hayashi’s culinary masterpiece.
As a final touch, Roketsu shares the essence of Washoku through its five colours and cooking methods. Green, white, red & yellow, and black symbolise refreshing, freshness, appetite stimulation, and enhanced dish presentation.
The cooking methods include grilling, simmering, steaming, deep-frying, and cutting, creating a harmonious blend of flavours and textures.
In conclusion, Chef Daisuke Hayashi’s Roketsu stands as a beacon of culinary excellence, seamlessly blending tradition with innovation, and delivering an authentic Japanese dining experience to the heart of London.
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