Talking to Itsu – Asian-inspired Food & Drink in London

The early pioneers of Pret A Manger are the creative force behind itsu. Years of listening to customers persuaded them to build a new type of food place – one that is light, green and good for you.

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The eat beautiful menu celebrates the amazing flavours of the Far East; high in nutrients yet refreshingly low in calories and saturated fat.

What does the name itsu mean?

It mean’s ‘whenever’ in Japanese, as Julian wanted to offer people the chance to have access to great Japanese cuisine at affordable prices – not just fine dining. At itsu we want people to have access to ‘eat beautiful’ restaurant quality food made fresh in our shops everyday whenever they want.

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What is itsu’s philosophy?

Our philosophy of ‘eat beautiful’ really celebrates all of the amazing flavours of the Far East whilst ensuring our products are high in nutrients and low in calories and saturated fat. We want to create light and healthy food that people love to eat and that’s prepared fresh onsite every day.

When did Notting Hill re-open?

We reopened Notting Hill in April. It’s a stunning store and we’re thrilled with how it’s been received in the area.

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Tell us about your noodles?

We have a couple of different kinds of noodles across the itsu offering. Due to popular demand from our customers we have just re-introduced our hot udon noodles to some of our stores. They’re very healthy and extremely moreish so we’re really excited about having them back on the menu.

We also offer an instant hot noodle which is available in supermarkets. They’re all the more interesting as we’ve created a fresh paste for the base rather than a dried powder which makes the product tastier. Our instant noodles are proving a real hit amongst people wanting a healthier, quick lunchtime option.

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What do you find most popular sushi or noodle dishes?

We actually find there’s a nice balance between the two. Whilst our sushi remains really popular we have worked extremely hard on our hot food in recent years and we’re seeing our customers really enjoying the offering.

What’s your most popular dish on the menu?

It’s our omega 3 box

Sushi Salad

How do you devise your menu?

We have an amazing team off chefs who are constantly innovating and coming up with exciting new, healthy products. We really listen to our customer feedback too. We always want to hear what our customers would like to see more of.

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Future plans more restaurants or shops?

Absolutely. We have more London and regional openings planned this year as well as our return to Heathrow’s Terminal 5 this summer.

Any funny stories?

About 4 years ago, we had a sushi box names Torvill and Dean on Ice.

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It got their attention and we received an email from their management asking if they could help support the brand! We’ve had other fun boxes such as German Green after Germaine Greer.


 

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