Kioku is a spectacular new Japanese restaurant at The OWO, London

At The OWO’s Kioku by Endo, James Bond vibes meet Japanese dining and spectacular London views

Kioku Restaurant and Bar at The OWO
(Image credit: Courtesy of Kioku and The OWO)

New London restaurant Kioku by Endo and Kioku Bar have opened their doors at the former Old War Office building in Whitehall – now known as The OWO, and also home to Raffles London and a courtyard pavilion that houses Café Lapérouse. The opening of Kioku is an important event for London, as the restaurant promises to be one of the foremost and most fabulous destinations in the capital for top-level, contemporary Japanese food and drinks. Its extraordinary location on the rooftop of The OWO bestows breathtaking 360-degree views that seem to encompass every landmark the city has to offer.

Inside Kioku by Endo and Kioku Bar

Plate of food at Kioku Restaurant and Bar at The OWO

Cuttlefish, Nori Pesto and Elderflower

(Image credit: Courtesy of Kioku and The OWO)

Kioku’s impressive address resonates with historical significance. The OWO was once the haunt of statesmen and is said to have inspired Ian Fleming’s spy novels after the author worked there for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division. The James Bond vibes are very much in evidence, as Kioko is an exciting and deeply glamorous place to be. Its setting and panoramic views present an almost cinematic experience as well as an outstanding gastronomic one.

Curved bar at Kioku Restaurant and Bar at The OWO

(Image credit: Courtesy of Kioku and The OWO)

Kioku is part of Creative Restaurant Group, for which Michelin-starred sushi master Endo Kazutoshi stands as Culinary Director.

Endo was born in Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city, just south of Tokyo. He is a third-generation sushi master, following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather, who opened his own sushi restaurant in the 1940s. Endo spent much of his childhood there or at the local fish markets watching the mongers ply their trade.

Wooden board of food

Smoked Yellowtail with Green Apple Ponzu and sobacha guanciale

(Image credit: Courtesy of Kioku and The OWO)

The charismatic chef has a strong sense of the influences that have shaped his culinary journey. He brings his Japanese heritage as well as the impressions made upon him during time spent in the Mediterranean (which began with cooking at the Japanese Embassy in Madrid).

chef Endo Kazutoshi outside at Kioku beside planted arch

Endo Kazutoshi

(Image credit: Courtesy of Kioku and The OWO)

Endo explains: ’Kioku, meaning “memory”, will combine all the important memories that I have together in one place. The experiences and events I have encountered throughout my personal and professional journey are very important to me: a reflection of my life and the passion I developed throughout my travels in Yokohama, Tokyo and Spain, in particular, moments that resonate with me in a way and that will have a huge influence on what we will bring to Kioku at The OWO.'

Kioku Restaurant and Bar at The OWO

(Image credit: Courtesy of Kioku and The OWO)

Endo is clear that his cuisine is not ‘fusion’ and prefers to describe it as ‘touched’ by Mediterranean influences. His unique modern style blends finely sharpened culinary skill with inspired creative artistry and presents it through the filter of his own life and experience. Dishes include Cuttlefish Nori Pesto and Elderflower, and Chashu Pork Ramen Ravioli. The menu features his signature nigiri and sashimi, and Endo has designed a bespoke ‘tuna trolley’ so guests may enjoy ‘a tuna experience’, served table-side by one of Endo’s sushi chefs.

He says, ’The spirit of harmony between guest and host encompasses every detail and is present in every act. Within myself too, exists this same harmony, this time between tradition and innovation, that imbues every aspect of my craft.’

Terrace at Kioku Restaurant with view of The London Eye

The rooftop terrace

(Image credit: Courtesy of Kioku and The OWO)

The restaurant space, by interior designer Pirajean Lees, is airy and elegant. It boasts a magnificent roof terrace (with aforesaid breathtaking views) that leads to arguably the most spectacular private dining room in London, seating up to eight, and situated within one of the grand OWO turrets. Each of its windows frames a famous landmark – Westminster, Nelson’s Column and The London Eye, to name but a few. The chef’s table, also seating eight, is no less thrilling; perched high above Whitehall, with views of the city from one side of the table, and from the other side, the Kioku chefs at work.

Private dining room at Kioku Restaurant in one of the turrets at The OWO

The private dining room

(Image credit: Courtesy of Kioku and The OWO)

Kioku Bar, situated on the ground floor of The OWO, is an intimate space in which sound and saké are taken seriously. The bar is modelled on traditional Japanese listening bars, (where drinks are served to a soundtrack played through a state-of-the-art sound system.) The bar serves beautifully crafted drinks from an award-winning team including saké sommelier Anthony Yukio and saké samurai Natsuki Kikuya, who has assembled the largest saké collection in Europe, stored in a bespoke ‘saké safe’.

Yukio comments: ‘We are thrilled to open the Kioku Bar, which will offer nearly every single category of sake from almost every single prefecture in Japan. Our mission is to offer an exceptional and unique experience to every guest and become a global destination for an amazing sipping experience’.

Melina Keays is the entertaining director of Wallpaper*. She has been part of the brand since the magazine’s launch in 1996, and is responsible for entertaining content across the print and digital platforms, and for Wallpaper’s creative agency Bespoke. A native Londoner, Melina takes inspiration from the whole spectrum of art and design – including film, literature, and fashion. Her work for the brand involves curating content, writing, and creative direction – conceiving luxury interior landscapes with a focus on food, drinks, and entertaining in all its forms