It is the meeting of two cultures—Italian and Japanese—that have come together on Via Solferino in Milan.
The first clue is in the name: in the Italian version of the incredibly popular Manga series Lupin III, Zazà is the well-liked Inspector Zenigata, who is often seen eating Ramen. The choice of name is a metaphor, with a touch of irony, for a popular Japanese product proposed to an Italian audience. Ramen is the most popular dish in Japan and here, in the heart of Milan, we find a high-quality, authentic version that is rigorous in its approach and clearly aware of the ingredients of Italian gastronomic culture.
Another clue is the logo, which contains no trace of classic Japanese iconography but instead has a contemporary style. A bowl, a spring of wheat, and a drop of water: the raw elements of Ramen symbolize essentialness, purity, and authenticity. The same guiding principles are to be found in the design of the restaurant’s interior, with natural materials and small details borrowed from Japanese tradition. The creators of Zazà Ramen are an internationally renowned chef and a pair of Japanese entrepreneurs who have chosen Italy as their home.
Brendan Becht was born in Holland to a family of contemporary art collectors and began his career as a chef at a very early age in London, at the Connaught Hotel. He then moved on to Paris, where he worked with Pierre Hermé at Fauchon and then with Alain Senderens at Lucas Carton. He finally arrived in Milan, working with Gualtiero Marchesi before specializing in the opening of Italian restaurants in Japan. Thanks to a strong esthetic sense and a natural curiosity inherited from his cultural and artistic education and professional life, he created Zazà Ramen Milan. Kevin and Sumika Ageishi, his business partners, are Japanese entrepreneurs who have lived in Italy for almost 20 years working in the fashion world. In November 2013, they opened the kind of Japanese restaurant that did not yet exist in Milan: no sushi, sashimi, or maki—just Ramen! Clearly, “simplicity” in this case becomes an achievement: the “combination by subtraction” of two worlds. Ramen in this sense is modern Japanese cuisine in context, a dish made up of three basic elements interpreted in different ways: broth and fresh pasta with a choice of vegetables, meat, or seafood. Zazà Ramen’s interpretations are above all delicate, and they are all prepared on site with the highest quality ingredients.