A corner of contemporary Japan has opened in the heart of Milan. Named Kanpai, the new restaurant, designed by Milanese design studio Vudafieri-Saverino Partners proposes Izakaya rites and atmosphere accompanied by dishes from popular Japanese cuisine.
Kanpai brings to Milan a mix of food, sake and Japanese culture but no sushi. It also has an oriental style cocktail list and is set to be a place to eat and drink late into the night.
The aim of Kanpai is to recreate the post-work Tokyo evenings and the restaurant and bar could easily inhabit one of the Japanese metropolitcal city with installed screens which transmit pop images typical of today’s technological and urban Japan.
The restaurant and bar is only open in the evening from 7pm till late and the kitchen does not close before midnight.
The project is the result of the passion for Japan of the three 28-, 32- and 33-year old Italian business partners who have brought together food, culture and sake with the idea of presenting the most metropolitan imagine of Japanese cuisine. “We did not want to create a stereotype of the traditional Japanese rice paper but what can be seen in Tokyo today,” they said,
The 150 sqm are structured over three rooms each with different colour schemes and aesthetic atmospheres to interpret the different styles of conviviality and comfort.
The bar area welcomes customers with a large counter build with radical simplicity: the metal elements fuse with bamboo wood in a natural, geometric way, with a wide selection of sake and spirits on show.
In the second room, a large mural of young street artist Alessandro Di Vicino has been painted and is visible from outside through the windows. The third room introduces blue shares which render indefinite the perception of depth and on which 50 Japanese lanterns have been left to float in shares of yellow and orange.
On the menu there is no sushi and the only raw dish on the menu is sashimi. Instead there are different cooking techniques proposed from Karaage nanban lime, kakuni (stewed pork belly), beef tataki, pickled vegetables and black cod.
Kanpai’s other soul is linked to the world of mixology and good drinking. Behind the bar is Samuele Lissoni who creates an oriental-style drinks list. There are many twists to the great classics as well as original creations. Of interest is the Mortal Kombu with tequila infused with kombu seaweed, orange curacao, liquid sugar, crushed ginger and tangerine air or the Kanpai Highball with Nikka blended whisky, black cardamon syrup and bancha tea. Particular attention is given to sake as well as Japanese whisky and gin.