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Pan-Asian Food Revolution at Annabel's
– A review

For three nights in September, Annabel's offered cutting-edge Asian food in collaboration with two eminent guest chefs.

For three nights in September, Annabel's offered cutting-edge Asian food in collaboration with two eminent guest chefs

Tim Mawn, Executive Head Chef of the Birley Clubs, collaborated with Yashin's head chef, Shinya Ikeda, and Scott Hallsworth, the co-founder of Kurobuta, to conjure up avant-garde menus for three nights dubbed a Pan-Asian Food Revolution. 'While totally authentic,' Tim explains, 'every plate boasted modern London twists for discerning palates.'

Incorporating lots of raw food, the menus for the first two evenings focused on kaiseki cuisine from Kyoto. In this multisensory dining experience, the courses ranged from seared meats and sashimi, to exotic salads and hot marinated dishes. Among the subtle options were lime-cured Bluefin with unagi sauce and jasmine tea-smoked duck with plum compôte.

Thursday night’s offering saw a dramatic change of gastro pace: Scott and Tim cooking an eight-course tasting menu based on Kurobuta’s acclaimed, rock-'n'-roll-style izakaya cuisine. The sumptuous set treats included tuna sashimi pizza with truffle ponzu and miso-grilled aubergine beside candied walnuts.

Izakayas are informal Japanese drinking dens in which wholesome, street food-like plates are served alongside sake, an elegant Japanese rice wine, and beer. Determined to instil a genuine izakaya experience, Tim added premium sake to the Club's bar offerings.

Members were prompt in reserving tables in the main Restaurant, with the experimental menus earning rave reviews from all diners. 'It was a very creative experience and one for which our kitchen had to completely change its everyday approach,' Tim concludes. 'And I think we all witnessed something truly thrilling.'

The Club looks forward to more nights of experimental cuisine in collaboration with guest chefs. Next in the series will be Brad McDonald of Noma and Per Se fame, who will be preparing a traditional all American feast for Thanksgiving.

Article by Richard Mellor