TABLE TALK

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🍣 #7: Secret Sushi, Mochi Madness & NYC's Ramen King 🍜

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If last week was all about the quiet comforts of home and curious combinations best consumed within your own four walls, today flips that on its head. It’s a celebration of Japanese cuisine and its extraordinary variety - at once instantly familiar and uniquely foreign.

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🥢 Your Favourite Restaurant You've Never Been To... 🥢

Comparing arguably London’s finest sushi restaurant to a Magic Radio phone-in may seem odd at first, but when you consider the fact it’s probably easier to get through to Ronan Keating first thing on a Monday than it is Sushi Tetsu, you see where I’m going with this…

Nestled in a quiet alleyway in Clerkenwell, Sushi Tetsu is the manifestation of husband and wife team, Toru and Harumi Takahashi, and their vision to bring an exquisite sushi experience to life here in London. If their fabled-but-infamous booking system is enough to drive even the most focused foodies to distraction, everything else suggests that your efforts will be richly rewarded.

A tantalising glimpse at what awaits inside...

A tantalising glimpse at what awaits inside...

Having only 56 unanswered calls to show for my previous attempts to book, I’ll hand over to David Paw and his review for The Infatuation:

“As for the sushi itself, it’s the difference between flying economy and business class; VHS and high-definition TV; David Haye and Muhammad Ali.”

 

For those choosing the Omakase menu - a Japanese tradition of handing the reins over to the chef in making your choices - the idea of being presented with round after round of fatty tuna sashimi, torched mackerel and much more sounds like pure heaven.
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Stopping to reflect, perhaps a good thing most of us have never managed to get a table, for almost all sushi experiences thereafter wouldn’t even compare. Equally, that’s no way to celebrate the magic that Sushi Tetsu have created, so once they reopen (details here), I urge you to block out your diary, pick up your phone(s) and get dialling.

🍜 Characters In The Kitchen 🍜

Not unlike Toru and his ever-changing menu above, we’re bringing something new to the table today. In debuting a feature that celebrates the characters behind the establishments we love, we turn our attention to the inimitable Ivan Orkin.

For fans of Netflix’s Chef’s Table, his name and his restaurants might be familiar. Having developed an early love of Japanese culture, his various stints in Tokyo intertwined love, loss and a bucket load of learnings. Zeroing in on ramen over other Japanese cuisines - attracted to the lack of constraint and convention in how it should be prepared - Orkin came to run not one, but two, of Tokyo’s most hallowed ramen restaurants.

Orkin's intensity and experimentation are beautiful to behold

Orkin's intensity and experimentation are beautiful to behold

Encapsulating the impact that Orkin had during his time in Tokyo, Heroshi Osaki, Chairman of the Ramen Database and a man who claims to have eaten over 23,000 bowls of the stuff, has gone from questioning if an American can ever make truly great ramen to repeatedly eulogising over the quality of his outputs.

Whilst the link above takes you to the full episode, for those rushing to put dinner on the table, simply check out this eight step guide to create the perfect ramen and to watch Orkin’s profanity-strewn rant about his dog eating that night’s dinner ingredients in pitch perfect Japanese. For those for whom visiting his latest NYC outpost is currently just a dream, I dare you to learn more about the man and to not be inspired.

💥 Little Luxuries 💥

Little luxuries - we all have them and when we’re talking about food and drink, they come in all shapes and sizes. It might be an undersized coffee from an overpriced barista, a bacon sandwich on a Friday morning or a warming glass of Rioja in the evening. Depending on the time of day, the mood we’re in or simply the weather, I suspect our answers change and evolve all the time. That said, if you were to ask me a hundred times, my answers are beginning to converge around one small, but perfectly-formed foodstuff - the mochi ball.

Tiny little life-changing balls of joy

Tiny little life-changing balls of joy

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, where have you been?! Having gone viral on TikTok earlier this year, racking up >50 million views in the process, Little Moons’ mochi balls are scoops of ice cream encased in a pillowy rice flour dough that’s enough to make you leap for joy.

Now that’s enough of me pretending I actually know what’s happening on TikTok, so what are your little luxuries? What small indulgences do you cross the road for to give you a little lift?

Thank you,

Luke

PS. Don’t want to wait a whole week for our next edition? Check us out on Instagram (@wednesdaysdomaine) for your daily tipple.

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