Tenshi opened in January 2010. Our vision was to create a very authentic experience of Japanese culture, as close as possible to walking into a typical little neighbourhood restaurant in Japan. Not a minimalist 'fine dining' restaurant with upscale pretensions and prices to match, nor a funky and modern 'fusion' restaurant - just an honest and cosy space, serving home-cooked Japanese food of the kind that Japanese people actually eat on a regular basis in their local izakaya - plus some varied and high-quality sushi options that you might not find in establishments of that sort.
As a long-term resident of Angel, the owner felt he had a good understanding of the kind of Japanese restaurant that local people would enjoy, and spent much time exploring small neighbourhood restaurants in Osaka and Tokyo getting a feel for the right atmosphere and range of food. Every year, Tenshi gets closer to the ambience and character that he originally envisaged It's impossible to create a 'lived-in' restaurant, with the feel of a true local favourite, instantly. Any attempt to contrive this well-used and much loved atmosphere would look fake, as can be seen in the current rash of chain restaurants with off-the-peg 'distressed' interiors.
At Tenshi we take pride in the fact that our restaurant is the product of many different people who have passed through and left their mark - regular customers voicing their opinions, their delight and their constructive criticism; staff who perhaps live in the UK for a couple of years and have to return to Japan or another country when their visa ends, yet leave us with a treasured recipe or a beautiful piece of artwork. Yet through all the comings and goings of colourful and interesting people, the original owners and the long-standing head sushi chef remain the same, ensuring that Tenshi remains true to its vision and guiding principles.
Tenshi may be small, a little chaotic at times, perhaps not run with the military precision of some corporate restaurants where the staff wear earpieces and an army of chefs toils in an unseen kitchen. But we believe and indeed know that the experience you will get is closer to the spirit of causal Japanese food than you are likely to encounter anywhere else in our area. Please forgive the waitresses for being a blur of motion as they try to serve two floors without a lift during a busy service - Tenshi is a hive of activity just like the best local drinking and dining dens in Japan. Behind it all is a commitment to producing surprisingly good food, using expensive and authentic ingredients whilst striving to give our customers great value for money and a very wide-ranging menu.