Takuya Watanabe

Takuya Watanabe

Last August, for our guest chef collaboration series, we invited to join our kitchen Takuya Watanabe of Michelin-starred London restaurant Taku and Kaïto, in Paris.

Watanabe started his career at 19 in Sapporo, and after years spent perfecting his cooking skills, he went on to becoming chef patron at Jin in Paris, quickly gaining his first star. Today, it’s from the intimate 16-seat restaurant in Mayfair that Watanabe, a master sushi chef, delights London diners with his unique omakase, an ever-changing tasting menu created around the finest, freshest ingredients available.

After the dinner, Taku shared with us how he chooses what to drink and some of his most meaningful experiences around the table.

Here is our conversation.

Takuya Watanabe
Takuya Watanabe Takuya Watanabe

1. You're handed a wine list, what do you do?

I really love my Burgundy wine so my first instinct is to look at those - having been in Paris for 11 years the pricing is amazing for the quality you get. If I am not in Paris the first instinct is to look at the price and whether it’s worth the bottle it is.

2. How do you know the wine you're drinking is good?

I really look for how young the wine is and whether it’s the perfect time to have. For example I had a 2014 Lucien Le Moine Les Suchots recently but even then it was very young. Good value but not as good as I hoped.

3. What is something fascinating you’ve been told over lunch?

That London restaurant rent is nearly 8x Paris rent for the same high end location. It’s crazy sometimes to think how geographically expensive some places are in comparison to the rest of the world.

4. In whose company do you most enjoy drinking wine?

With my good friends who appreciate wine as well. That and some izakaya comfort food.

Takuya WatanabeTakuya Watanabe

5. Can you describe your ideal combination of wine, music, and setting?

A bit of light jazz, in a small bistrot with Japanese contemporary food and a great bottle of red.

6. What sort of food would you add to the equation?

If it’s cold nothing beats a fresh shabu shabu with ingredients locally bought from the market. If it’s hot then something light like a chirashi don.

7. What is the most memorable bottle of wine you’ve drank?

Chateau Lafite 1996 as it was when we got the Michelin star for Taku in London.

8. Where did you drink it?

At our celebration for the event

Takuya WatanabeTakuya Watanabe

9. Is there a characteristic you look for in a wine and in a friend?

Maturity - someone who can appreciate things properly and wine that tastes great for its age.

10. What is your approach to drinking?

Sniff, smell first. Taste the wine don’t drink it.

11. Do you apply this approach in other aspects of life?

Yes - I only love things done to the best quality and precision. This can only be achieved by paying attention to the finer details like when you drink.

12. What shall we open next?

If we’re at Planque you choose, if you come to Taku then you simply need to pick sake or wine and trust me. Omakase

Takuya WatanabeTakuya Watanabe

Opening Hours

Monday - Saturday: from 6pm
Saturday: from 12pm


Subscribe to our newsletter

New Opening Times

Starting from this summer our opening times are changing. From Tuesday 1st August onwards, our restaurant will be open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, and for lunch on Saturday as usual.

Summer Break

Our last day open before the holidays is Saturday 5th August. We will be back as usual from Tuesday 15th August.