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Riverside Building, Belvedere Road, London SE1 7PB
For Toru Sasaki, opening his own restaurant was a dream that seemed simply destined to be fulfilled. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Toru was raised by his parents, who owned a Soba (Japanese noodle) restaurant. After growing up in the restaurant business as a child, it was only natural that Toru started to dream about his own restaurant someday. However, his parents had their own dreams for Toru. They sent him to an American High School in the hopes it would help Toru get out of Tokyo, become an ‘international’ citizen and most importantly, to start a profession that was “better off than being a restaurant owner like us.” Indeed, Toru did eventually move to the UK to study International Relations at University, but he kept his passion for the food business industry alive throughout the years. He took over a Japanese restaurant in Soho, making his first venture a Ramen bar called ‘Ittenbari,’ which means ‘stubborn’ in Japanese and takes its name from his parents’ small restaurant in Tokyo.
“I’m doing what he didn’t want me to do after all, but I did get out of Tokyo and am doing something special. He should be proud of me up there!” Toru says.