A Food And Art Fusion With The Opening Of Sekka Lab

Food, art and culture combine at the recently opened Sekka Lab restaurant space in Niseko.

Sekka Lab 3

Earthy and industrial combine in the restored warehouse space that makes up the Sekka Lab in Kutchan.

A unique dining experience fusing food, art and culture is shaking up the food scene in Niseko with the opening of Sekka Lab.

Opened late December, 2016, in Kutchan, Sekka Lab's cleverly designed, mixed-use interior space, including restaurant, art gallery, café, lounge and function room makes for a refreshing approach to dining and culture in Niseko.

Our team were lucky enough to recently dine at Sekka Lab with founder and creator, Shouya Grigg, who's also behind SekkaStyle and Zaborin.

Sekka Lab Pork

Delicious, succulent roast pork with crackling served on handcrafted plates from Honshu.

Having lived in Hokkaido for 23 years, mostly in Niseko and Sapporo, for Shouya, the idea for the venue was born from a personal passion for great food, arts, communication and culture.

"These areas are very important for me and I believe they add a lot of great value to one's lifestyle," Shouya explains.

“I opened the original Sekka restaurant around 12 years ago, at the very start of the ‘new’ Niseko. I took a break from the restaurant for a few years while I was planning Zaborin, but many people kept asking me to reopen. I bought the building quite a few years back and used it as storage for some of my other projects - I had always planned on renovating the building and opening up another restaurant - it was just a matter of timing.”

Sekka Lab Aya Basket

Shouya's collected objects adds to the experience: Japanese aya basket on intricately carved drinks caddy.

The free-flowing relationship between art, food and culture is something Shouya, originally from the UK, weaves seamlessly into the Sekka experience.

"Changing the menu to embrace the very best of produce is something that is very obvious but I like to take that one step further and change the art and objects on display, too," Shouya explains.

While serving up cuisine with Italian roots, the menu is not printed and set in stone, with Head Chef Kobayashi and his team preferring to write it up daily depending what is sourced locally. There are a few staples though, ones which proved popular at the original restaurant like ‘porchetta’ and the ‘Ezo Shika’ Venison Gnocchi.

We enjoyed a delicious course meal featuring succulent roast pork, minestrone of seasonal vegetables and beans grown organically in Kyogoku, and berry and citron sorbet with chocolate coated figs as a fresh finish to our meal.

Sekka Lab Berry Sorbet And Citron Sorbet And Chocolate Coated Fig

Berry and citron sorbet with chocolate coated fig for dessert.

When it comes to the art and interior space, the same philosophy of fluidity applies.

"I have always loved the tradition in Japan that embraces the seasons, whether it be the food or the ikebana (flower arrangement) and art on display in the tea room, this has influenced me a lot during my time in Japan, " Shouya says.

With a background in photography and design, and Shouya’s apparent natural eye for style, the Sekka space is thoughtful, yet uncontrived. The space is a mix of earthy and industrial, with Shouya describing the aesthetic as “rough-luxe” – it’s the experience, the surrounding, and intrinsic value of objects and art, not just the consumable items themselves.

“I love bringing life back to things that have supposedly seen their “last days”. I believe everything has potential and often all that is needed are some creative out of the box ideas and thinking – for me, this can range from found objects, through to land and buildings,” Shouya explains.

Sekka Lab Art

Old-world objects as art scattered throughout the venue.

The experience doesn’t stop at the door either, you can also purchase a piece of art for yourself with the Somoza gallery space, currently exhibiting the incredible, rustic pottery by Hokkaido artist, Manubu Kachi.

And the best part? When you return to Sekka Lab, again and again, the experience will never quite be the same it once was.

Sekka Lab Pottery

Somoza gallery space featuring work by exhibiting Hokkaido potter, Manubu Kachi.

Opening Hours: Year round 10.30am - 11pm

Free Wifi available

Location: Hokkaido, Abuta gun, Kutchan, Minami 1 Jo Nishi 2 Chome 15-2

Contact: 0136-23-1139