Engawa ensures Kobe quality with space-saving refrigeration

Japanese restaurant uses Precision’s individual refrigerated drawers for “optimum freshness”

Engawa is one of Japan’s top restaurant groups and has recently opened its first UK site in Ham Court, Piccadilly.  Specialising in the delicacy of Kobe beef and offering seasonal set menus, as well as a stunning selection of fresh sushi and sashimi, Engawa in London is a compact, intimate site with just 29 covers and an open, galley kitchen.  It also supplies room service for the Ham Court Hotel opposite. 

The restaurant has one of the most authentic menus in London – in fact, Engawa is the only Japanese restaurant to import the entire cow from which the Kobe beef is sourced.  With such an exclusive offering, based on only the finest ingredients, freshness and quality are essentials.  However there’s 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,” says Daniel Ashworth, operations director of 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 chose Precision refrigeration, with several of the models supplied coming from the company’s space-saver range.  Space-saver units share the high performance and quality build associated with Precision’s standard products, but in a compact footprint – so they are stainless steel throughout and are 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,” says Daniel.

Precision also supplied several of the company’s innovative 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,” says Daniel. 

The drawers are double-stacked and are used as under-broiler counters – so several have cooking appliances mounted on top.  This makes best use of the site’s very limited space, whilst giving chefs easy access to ingredients. 

Because all the Precision equipment in the galley kitchen is front-venting, it can be fitted in to the tightest space, with no side or rear ventilation requirement, maximising the site’s storage potential. 

Sustainability and energy saving are important for Engawa.  “With rising energy costs, choosing equipment that is more economic to run is increasingly important,” says Daniel.  Precision has led the way in developing energy-saving technologies.  For example, the equipment at Engawa feature Precision’s iCool controllers, which use fuzzy logic to predict power requirements, slashing energy consumption by around 25%. 

The refrigeration at Engawa was supplied by Hallmark Kitchens.  “They’ve been fast to respond to questions and are very proactive,” says Daniel.