CENSU is a new 40-seat Japanese restaurant with influences from the U.K. to downunder, created by Chef Shun Sato of Fukuro, Ho Lee Fook, Belon and Armani / Aqua fame. He is joined by fellow Fukuro and Ho Lee Fook alum Keaton Lai as General Manager in opening their first independent venture on NoHo’s trendy Gough Street.
The interiors are inspired by Chef Shun’s grandmother’s house in Sendai which reflects the traditional Japanese Wabi-sabi concept – the appreciation of imperfect beauty and simplicity – designed by JAMO associates and design direction by Shigenobu Yamaoka (designers of Trunk Hotel, Tokyo), who add a contemporary touch and the feeling of ‘home’ to the venue.
CENSU’s name is play on words, meaning 扇子 (‘Sensu’), the Japanese word for ‘folding fan’, and embracing ‘sense’ in terms of lifestyle: the team’s fashion, music, design and, of course, culinary senses are at the core of CENSU’s values.
Shun Sato – Founder and Head Chef, CENSU
Hailing from Sendai in northern Japan, Shun Sato was born into a culinary family. His father owned and ran a popular izakaya, and Chef Shun spent his childhood exploring new dishes and absorbing his father’s cooking skills. Humble and charismatic, Chef Shun was raised to live up to the values of the traditional Japanese Wabi-sabi principle – the appreciation of imperfect beauty and simplicity – which has been defining his path ever since.
Given his upbringing, it was natural that Chef Shun pursued a culinary career. His first job started with him working at a renowned French restaurant in Tokyo as a dishwasher. After years of earning his name in the culinary scene, Chef Shun accepted a Sous Chef position at two Michelin-starred omakase restaurant Yoshii in Sydney. He later took up a prestigious position as Head Chef at Michelin acclaimed French-Japanese restaurant Blancharu. His passion grew as he explored local farms, wineries, learnt about modern western cooking techniques and made lifelong friendships, in particular with prominent international chefs at Ms.G’s, a modern Asian Australian dining destination. After seven years in Australia, his career led him to London where he helmed the kitchen of famed Aqua Kyoto for two years. The prestigious group valued his culinary expertise and relocated him to Hong Kong.
CENSU is the first project which Chef Shun can completely call his own and is set to raise the bar with its elevated and inventive menu. The Japanese restaurant on Gough Street is a truly exceptional concept which is strongly influenced by his culinary expertise from Japan and around the world. CENSU’s interiors are a modern interpretation of his grandmother’s home in Sendai, going back to the roots and reflecting the traditional Wabi-sabi principles – a concept that represents Shun Sato as a humble and charismatic person, celebrated chef, friend and family man. “CENSU is my interpretation of the feeling of home in every sense. My team, but also the guests should feel like they are coming home when they taste, smell, feel, hear and experience CENSU.