Selfridges transforms into a slice of Japan

The housewares department and food halls of Selfridges’ flagship store on London’s Oxford Street are being transformed into ‘an authentic slice of Japan’ for 12 weeks.

The department store group said: “As well as hosting the next Olympics, Japan is seen as the next cultural phenomenon and to celebrate this, Selfridges is bringing a host of authentic, exclusive, artisanal products and experiences to entice, excite and educate customers for the first three months of 2016.”

Selfridges has partnered with a number of food experts including Hidetoshi Nakata (former international football player turned artisanal sake maker), plus a selection of Japanese consumer brands including Kikkoman and Meiji.

Selfridges food and restaurants director Nathan Herrmann commented: “Japan is an incredibly innovative and cultural country, and with so much happening there over the next 10 years, we thought it fitting to pay homage with a Selfridges twist.”

Highlights include the UK’s smallest sake bar, launched with Hidetoshi Nakata. The six-seater bar, located in Selfridges Wine and Spirits shop, serves the most exclusive Japanese sakes, never before available in the UK.

The Selfridges Wine and Spirits shop itself will become a destination for Japanese whiskies and sakes, stocking over 25 expressions. Tasting sessions and master classes will also be on offer.

Kawaii (meaning ‘really cute’ in Japanese) pop culture is intrinsic to Japan and in honour of this, Selfridges aims to bring customers the best in Japanese food pop culture with a entire wall dedicated to the chocolate-covered biscuit sticks Pocky, creating the largest selection of Pocky in the UK.

A range of Japanese confectionery, with flavours such as Lychee Gummies, will take pride of place in the Confectionery Hall. Customers can also expect Japanese and British ‘mash-ups’ in the bakery counter with British classics turning into Japanese delights such as Matcha Rolled Cake (aka Swiss roll).

In addition, Selfridges will host the broadest range of Hello Kitty products ever seen in a department store, with exclusive Hello Kitty food items.

In the food hall, Hidetoshi Nakata has worked with the Selfridges buying team to hand-select artisanal products from Japan, from sushi to a noodle library featuring over 50 different types of noodles, as well as exclusive Japanese teas.

Japanese-themed housewares products include a DEXAM 20cm bamboo steamer (£22), SORI YANAGI Nambu Tekki 13cm cast iron pan (£160), KAICO 1.8L oil pot  (£120), GLOBAL 13cm Santoku knife (£149.99), HASAMI PORCELAIN ceramic teapot (£50), AZMAYA Handmade ebony chopsticks (£36) and a MONBENTO Square Bento box (£29).

Selfridges’ demo kitchen will also host a series of exclusive dining events, including an evening of Japanese flavours, for which six London-based Japanese head chefs will prepare a course each.The dinner is organised in conjunction with The Japanese Culinary Academy, which was established in London last July in response to the growing interest in Japanese cuisine.

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