Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge are getting a new sushi restaurant

What the garden looked like before

The new ventures show how Japanese staple is no longer the exotic rarity it once was – and is proving a lucrative option for restaurateurs as other mid-market eateries close.

With a likely opening of early November, Niihaw is set to be the first eatery of the two to serve customers.

The takeaway, which offers a seating area, will be based in Angel Walk, off Tonbridge High Street, to become one of the brand’s first outlets outside of London.

Meanwhile, Kitsu Sushi & Noodle Bar is opening a second Tunbridge Wells outlet under the banner Kiko Sushi & Yakitori, this time on London Road from mid-December.

Owners are excited to open and have described a ‘growing’ popularity for Japanese cuisine.

Kai Ng, chef at Kitsu on Victoria Road [opposite Royal Victoria Place car park] said around nine jobs will be created by the opening.

“It is a very good time [for sushi],” he told the Times. “I think there are going to be more opening locally and there will be some competition.

“We have wanted to open a new restaurant for a while in Tunbridge Wells. It is growing fast, especially in London, although it is riskier for smaller restaurants to open here.”

Kitsu will continue to trade as present.

Mr Ng added: “At Kiko we are going to put on a different menu with more focus on yakitori grill and there will be more seating.”

Popular Niihaw items include rice dishes, sushi, dumplings and teriyaki flavours.

A spokesman said: “The main reason to open was the outstanding education in this area.

“We first visited Tonbridge about five years back. Our friends who lives in Sevenoaks showed us all these beautiful towns around. First we fell in love with Tunbridge Wells.

“But from business point of view. Tonbridge is more of a commuter town, many people travel to work in London. These professionals are much more familiar with sushi and dim sum.”

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