Wabi Leaping to the capital

WITH the Olympics in sight, Wabi is leaping to London after its runaway success in Horsham.

Tuesday, 20th March 2012, 6:00 am

The restaurant established itself in East Street nearly two years ago and, after a tentative start, quickly built a reputation as centre of excellence for Japanese cuisine with a contemporary twist.

Under the direction of globally-acclaimed executive chef Scott Hallsworth it is now taking the formula to the capital.

Representing a combined investment of more than £5m, the Horsham and London Wabi restaurants show that the West Sussex market town can be a springboard to national triumph.

Andre Cachia, CEO, said that ‘finding a property in London is like finding gold nuggets in your garden’ as he has been searching for the perfect location since June last year.

But last Thursday he finally secured a venue in one of the largest public squares in the city.

Mr Cachia said: “Our biggest problem to overcome was people’s idea that it is an expensive restaurant but now when you look at our bento boxes or our children’s menu for £4.50, that’s actually really cheap!”

Now that Horsham’s generous diners have proven there is a hunger for sophisticated Japanese dining, Mr Cachia feels more than confident that Wabi can thrive in London too.

“It was always the plan to stick our toe in the water here first then open a branch in London within two years. Some may say why don’t you do it the other way round and the answer is that if you want to get something secure first you don’t go straight to London.”

The London venue will form the central feature of a major new 160 bed hotel opened by Club Quarters, situated half way between the West End and the City.

Mr Cachia has a vivid concept of what he wants to create which involves a main Japanese restaurant as well as a small dining area for European cuisine and a separate bar with a roof terrace over looking the Lincoln’s Inn gardens.

The new branch promises to thrive in the generous foot fall generated from the nearby theatres, colleges and numerous tourist attractions but Horsham diners will always be the pioneers of the Wabi experience.