• Jiji


Marugame Seimen Inc., an operator of sanuki udon Japanese noodle restaurants, opened its first British outlet in central London on Monday.

It is the Japanese company’s first outlet in Europe except Russia, where it runs several udon restaurants. On the first day, over 100 customers waited in line in front of the London restaurant, whose opening was postponed due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Marugame Seimen, a subsidiary of restaurant chain operator Toridoll Holdings Corp., aims to launch 100 restaurants in Europe by 2026. Keith Bird, CEO of the company’s European arm, said he is confident, after a lot of market research, that udon will be accepted by consumers in Britain and other parts of Europe.

The London restaurant is near Liverpool Street station, located at the City financial center in the British capital. Menu prices are far lower than at other restaurants in London, with a bowl of kake udon costing £3.95 pounds (about ¥600). The store also offers udon dishes for vegans.

Udon is not well known in Britain but is gradually gaining popularity.

“Now is a good time to open a restaurant (in Britain) as COVID-19 restrictions in the country have been eased substantially,” Toridoll executive Takashi Sugiyama said, adding, “We expect to see a recovery in demand for dining out.”

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