"Inua" is a Nordic cuisine restaurant firmly rooted in the landscape of Japan. After a preparatory period lasting over 2 years, the restaurant opened in 2018, and no one was anticipating that moment more eagerly than Chef Thomas Frebel.
A native of Germany, Chef Thomas began his culinary journey at age 16. The cuisine of Chef Rene Redzepi drew Chef Thomas to "Noma" in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he then began working. Showing that he had the mind and skills for the job, chef Thomas served as head of research and development at "Noma" for 10 years. Under his leadership, the team helped to lead Noma to the title of "Best Restaurant in the World" on four separate occasions.
In 2014, he visited Japan for the first time, for a one-month-only pop-up. During that time, he became fully immersed in the food and culture of Japan, as he traveled across the country in search of new ingredients. "When I went from Japan back to Denmark after the pop-up was finished, I felt that I still had some unfinished business and that there were many things left for me to do. I had traveled all over the world, but that was the first time I had been struck by a feeling like that," says Chef Thomas.
He now gets his long-awaited opportunity to take the helm at a restaurant in Japan, as head chef at "Inua". Together with over 40 colleagues who have come together from more than 15 countries and regions around the world, Chef Thomas creates innovative cuisine that blends Japan's wealth of culinary resources with Nordic aesthetics and sensibilities, and culinary techniques including fermentation, aging, and pickling. The world built by the team at "Inua" is a work of art that speaks the lingua franca that is food. As they put it, "Inua" itself is a "means of expressing profound emotion". By seizing upon the charms of the country's wealth of ingredients—including herbs, fruits, spices, and seaweeds that even people in Japan have few opportunities to learn about—from unique angles, the team offers them up at the height of their goodness, breaking down every preconceived notion in the process. The menu, too, changes in time with the seasons of Japan. The cuisine here calls out to diners with its representation of "the will of nature," the changes in the environment that produce changes in ingredients that are specific to that season, that day, and that very moment. For Chef Thomas, to convey Japan's charms as a chef here in Japan means "to further pursue the inspiration and the connections that we are experiencing here and now."
The spacious 300 square meter restaurant is located on the 9th floor of a building in a corner of the Iidabashi neighborhood where the sense of human activity is especially palpable. Up the exterior stairs, down the long entranceway, and through the elevator that leads directly to the restaurant, diners will find themselves in an alternate culinary dimension in the Japanese sky. The larger furnishings, including the tables, chairs, and sofas, come from Denmark, while the dishes, glasses, and other small articles are special items made for "Inua" by Japanese artists. The entire ceiling showcases the techniques of Nishijin fabric, a form of weaving from Kyoto that is also a designated Traditional Craft Product of Japan. The abundant green of the design, which allows diners to feel the warmth of nature, is also entirely the product of Chef Thomas's uncompromising approach. In addition to the main dining area, which offers a view of the lively open kitchen, the restaurant offers private dining rooms and a lounge area. There is no dress code. "Inua" is intended as a place where diners can relax as though they were unwinding at home, whether with family, on a date, or with a group of colleagues.
*The availability of this webpage does not guarantee that the restaurant presented provides services in English unless otherwise stated. Please be aware that English services may also depend on staff availability at the restaurant.
A 5-minute walk Iidabashi Station, Exit West(JR Chuo Line)
A 5-minute walk Iidabashi Station, Exit West(JR Sobu Line)