Japanese restaurant group Engawa has revealed the success of its maiden UK venture owes much to the extensive level of commercial refrigeration installed at the site.
The restaurant, based in London’s Piccadilly area, specialises in the delicacy of Kobe beef and offers seasonal set menus, as well as a wide selection of fresh sushi and sashimi. It serves 29 covers from an open gallery kitchen, which also supplies room service to the Ham Yard Hotel opposite.
Engawa claims to be the only Japanese restaurant to import the entire cow from which the Kobe beef is sourced and with such an exclusive offering, freshness and quality are essentials.
However, there is huge pressure on refrigerated storage space since the galley kitchen is so small.
“Temperature control has to be absolutely accurate, and the equipment has to be totally reliable and practical,” explained Daniel Ashworth, operations director at Engawa in the UK. “Everything is on show, front of house, so the equipment has to look good, while being slim enough to fit in to our galley.”
Engawa brought in equipment from Precision Refrigeration, with several of the models supplied coming from the company’s space-saver range. The stainless steel range is designed to operate in ambient up to 43°C.
All the ones at Engawa are counters and all are fitted with drawers rather than doors. “They are more ergonomic in small spaces,” said Ashworth.
Precision also supplied several of its variable temperature, individually-refrigerated drawers. “The variable temperature gives us the flexibility we need to adjust the drawers to match the precise needs of the ingredients being stored, so they are kept at optimum freshness,” Ashworth added.
The drawers are double-stacked and are used as under-broiler counters – so several have cooking appliances mounted on top, allowing the site to make use of its limited space while giving chefs easy access to ingredients.
Ashworth said Precision’s iCool controllers, which use fuzzy logic to predict power requirements, were also useful in helping it to meet its goal of keeping costs down. “With rising energy costs, choosing equipment that is more economic to run is increasingly important,” said Ashworth.