One of my favourite dinners of 2015 was a pop-up that has been on my hit list for a while. Chef Anton Verplak is behind Minus 8, a Japanese private dining experience that is hosted between the months of March to October.
On this particular night, it's all about yakitori, and showcasing every part of the chicken. The location of the dinner is kept a secret until the day before the dinner. Drinks are BYO; there's a bottle shop that is conveniently close by to the location.
The fun of the dinner is it's a small group of 12, and you never know who you might be seated with. The group we had were a hoot, and it got quite rowdy by the end of the night.
We start off with a few smaller dishes of yakitori with different condiments:
Leg with Umeboshi and Shiso
Thigh with Yuzu Kosho
Parsons nose and oysters with Moshio
Belly and skin with Moshio
Thigh with wasabi salt
The wasabi salt in this dish adds an addictive kick; the couple opposite us asks Chef Anton for some more of the wasabi salt, and he happily brings over the whole shaker, and we all take advantage and use it liberally.
Daikon and cucumber pickle
The pickles are a nice dish to cut through the richness and provide some refreshment.
Middle and shoulder wings with Shichimi Togarashi
Tsukune with chives, aged shoyu and warm hen's egg yolk
This was definitely my favourite dish of the night. I love tsukune, and this is absolutely delicious with the runny hen's yolk and chives.
Tenderloin, Yakionigiri, wild Japanese parsley, Bubuarare, Wasabi, Toasted seaweed and chicken collagen tea
This was an interesting dish for me, as I have never eaten chicken cooked rare. Served on top of a yakionigiri (grilled rice ball), the tenderloin was so silken and tender.
This dish is served in it's seperate components; you then pour the chicken collagen tea (not pictured) over the tenderloin and rice, which cooks the chicken further. The next step is to add the condiments, such as toasted seaweed, to your bowl.
Castella cake with Hojicha ice cream and Kuromitsu syrup
The castella cake and Hojicha ice cream was a lovely finish to our meal - so very simple but tasty.
A highly recommended dining experience, and I definitely have a keen eye out for the next series of dinners that will be out next year!