Situated in a quiet street in Valencia, Kaido Sushi Bar’s unassuming exterior conceals a hidden gastronomic gem. Brilliantly conceived by restauranteur Ulises Menezo and chef Yoshikazu Yanome, Kaido is an exciting fusion of traditional Japanese cuisine and Mediterranean flavours and flair. Seating just ten guests at any one service, Kaido is a place that prizes attention to detail and sensorial stimulation.
Kaido Sushi Bar itself is unique. Designed in 2020 by Japanese designer Mikiya Kobayashi, guests enter the secluded space via a dark hallway. Seated at a wooden counter (in typical Japanese fashion), patrons are immediately greeted by the warming glow of LZF’s Suns. These decorative wood veneer panels, in three sizes, were designed by Kobayashi and act to diffuse the light shining from the ceiling spotlights: the effect is both mesmerising and calming. In the capable hands of chef Yoshikazu Yanome and his team, sushi is prepared with masterly finesse. Guests can delight in watching the sushi chef at work and hear him explain each dish.
Kaido Sushi Bar was recently awarded its first Michelin Star. Here, we talk with Ulises Menezo and Yoshikazu Yanome about Kaido, sushi, and the relationship with LZF.
For anyone wishing to visit Kaido Sushi Bar, describe the atmosphere during an evening’s service.
It is similar to being in Japan—very quiet and zen-like. The interior feels separate from the exterior, as though you have been transported to another place (perhaps Japan). The whole service is a ritual—it’s extremely relaxing and allows the guests to focus on the chef’s work.
What was the concept and thinking behind Kaido’s interior design?
Kaido is a sushi bar in the tradition of those in Japan, but with a modern style. It was designed by Mikiya Kobayashi, who combined tradition with modernity. Mikiya used local materials, such as porcelain stoneware (from ceramic manufacturer Grespania), and Japanese wood. He also introduced Suns, a new decorative panel made in collaboration with LZF.
Congratulations on winning a Michelin Star. How does it feel?
We are happy to have received this award. It inspires us to continually improve our work, and is the result of a long journey in the Japanese restaurant business (Tastem, a Japanese restaurant in Valencia where Yoshikazu Yanome is the executive chef, was launched by Ulises Menezo twenty years ago).
Preparing sushi takes an enormous amount of skill and imagination—it is truly a practised art form. How do you combine a time-honoured Japanese dish with Mediterranean products and a sense of flair?
Making sushi is not easy. There is much hard work behind this Japanese culinary art, where every single piece made becomes a masterpiece. We want our clients to appreciate that this is an ancient tradition, one that requires a high level of skill and the use of time-honoured methods. In combining both, you can create feelings of magic.
At Kaido, it’s very important to understand where we are and what we can do. We are in Valencia, a place that brings us treasures from the Mediterranean. We strive to perform with our dishes, using the marvellous gifts we receive from the land and sea. If the Mediterranean is the cradle of gastronomy, we must take advantage of this. We are then able to create a fusion with Japanese cuisine, one of the most ancient and delicious gastronomies in the world.
Describe your relationship with LZF.
We have known each other for a long time. LZF has supported us from the beginning, and we love how it is representing Valencia around the world—as one the most iconic design companies in Spain. We get along very well with Mariví & Sandro, the soul of LZF. They are great foodies and lovers of Japanese cooking. They are also true fans of our restaurants and we always enjoy their visits. We want to be part of LZF’s success and in collaborating with the company, to showcase their magnificent work to our clients.
There are plans for Kaido Sushi Bar to incorporate an LZF space. Can you say more about this?
We believe that LZF and Kaido have something in common: we are both like an oasis in the dessert, and seeking perfection and authenticity is part of our DNA. To have a space where we can showcase this relationship, a combination of our artisanal values and skills, is perfect.
A Japanese sushi bar in Valencia: how does it feel to be a part of this Spanish port city?
Today, Valencia is one of the most remarkable cities in Europe. For all of us at Kaido, it’s an honour to be part of the outstanding gastronomy found across this city. We believe that in just a few years, Valencia will be one of the best gastronomic destinations in Europe, and we want to be part of this.
All photos © Santiago Relanzon.