Endo Kazutoshi's restaurant debut, Endo at the Rotunda, embodies the chef's Yokohama roots, dedication to the craft of sushi, and his personal stories. His upbringing exposed him to the art of sushi where he now continues his family heritage, just with a Michelin star, voted UK's best restaurant by the 2023 GQ and ranked 38 on the top 100 UK restaurants list by The National Restaurant Awards 2023. His first venture is as personal as it is gastronomical. Endo at the Rotunda hosts 11 seats around a 200-year-old hinoki wood counter, offering a 20-course omakase experience steeped in the 'Omotenashi' spirit—rooted in empathetic hospitality.
Now, the acclaimed sushi master returns to share his profound personal stories that have shaped this exceptional dining establishment, along with his recommended top five sushi tools.
1. What do Japanese cuisine and sushi mean to you?
In a lot of ways, I have devoted my life to mastering the art of sushi. I am a third-generation sushi master, so it very much felt like it was my destiny to continue that legacy. In Japanese culture, following family tradition is usual. I want to preserve the history and technique surrounding sushi, to sustain balance and harmony in each and every dish that I make so that each bite feels meaningful.
As a nation, we explore and share a cuisine as a way to bond; it is human nature. For me, Japanese cuisine represents more than just what I eat every day, it is my philosophy for life and the best way to reflect the culture of my country.
Photo: Food Story Media
2. What advice would you give to your younger self at the start of your culinary journey?
Always appreciate the value of time. In our training, learning to make a singular style of sushi perfectly can take up to several years. Focus, rigour and dedication are key to success.
"I want to preserve the history and technique surrounding sushi, to sustain balance and harmony in each and every dish that I make so that each bite feels meaningful."
- Chef Endo Kazutoshi
3. What does Endo at the Rotunda mean to you?
Endo at the Rotunda is a reflection of my gratitude; the restaurant is based around the idea of hand to heart, it's a very personal space.
When we opened in 2019, I had a vision for where I wanted the restaurant to go. Looking back I cannot imagine it could have been any better than what it is today. Of course, there is always space for evolution, we should always be growing.
4. What do you hope to bring to the eclectic culinary scene of London with Endo at the Rotunda that is uniquely you?
An authentic Omakase experience showcasing the best of the art of sushi. We are a part of changing the perceptions of sushi and Japanese culture in the western world. I want to offer an experience to fully immerse people in my culture; through the food that we make and the environment we foster.
My cuisine finds balance between the authenticity of the art of sushi and my desire to explore, whilst striving for consistency. In Japanese we say ‘shokunin’. There's another saying in Japanese that goes “Ichi-go Ichi-e”, which means ‘one time one meeting’ - you never get the same fish again, you never get the same experience again.
"Endo at the Rotunda is a reflection of my gratitude; the restaurant is based around the idea of hand to heart, it's a very personal space."
- Chef Endo Kazutoshi
5. How would you describe the dining scene at Endo?
I think I’d describe it as a place as unforgettable and unique. Everything at the Rotunda from the design, to the crockery, chopsticks, drinks, knives, sake cups are tailor made for us. We respect the traditions, with an authentic omakase experience, and we show the love for what we do in every moment.
All imagery is provided by Goya Communications.