Monograph's supper club in Angel instantly appealed to me when browsing Tabl - the menu is pescetarian-friendly without the need to make any substitutions and the promise of re-creating a trip to Tokyo without a 10-hour flight had me sold.
The supper club space is a tiny gallery in Angel where the first step into creating the authentic Japanese experience was squeezing in to our tiny table and introducing ourselves over the din of other diners. It's BYOB or you can add in a sake experience for £19 if you're adventurous with your alcohol. Attempts at drinking authentically in Japan and Korea reminded me that I am not.
Once seated the lights were dimmed and the experience and the dishes started to emerge. The food was excellent - I can't quite explain how the flavours of real Japanese cooking are different but when you taste it you know. Flavours are delicate yet complex. Nothing is overly strong, or spicy or salty. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the flavours are "just right" even if you can't quite pinpoint what they are. I'm not much of a cook but maybe if I can capture the elusive "umani" taste then I'll be halfway there.
Having two smaller main courses meant that we could experience both an udon dish and a rice-based dish. The attention to detail of all of the food was amazing and I loved the stickers which explained each dish and how it was created. The rice in the salmon dish is cooked in a rice cooker imported from Japan and had that perfect sticky bite (I'm half-Persian and very particular about rice).
The between course "entertainment" (I don't want to give too much away here) was very funny and really helped to break the ice. Supper clubs are not restaurants and the chance to meet and speak to new people is always a little scary at first but an hour in and all my nervousness was forgotten. The food was amazing and I had a really fun evening having stepped out of my comfort zone and, briefly, into Tokyo.
Monograph's four-course Japanese supper club is £29 and takes place most Friday evenings at 7pm. Tickets available here via Tabl.