Just a few blocks away from Old Street station, a small slice of Shoreditch has been transformed into a scene from the back streets of Japan complete with red lit alley ways, lanterns, ryokans, and food stalls- a Tokyo night market.
Dan and I joined our friends Adam and Angie the other night to check out the latest offering from pop-up specialist Night Tales, Tokyo Nights. Three weeks into its eight week run and comprising of four concept bars, eight private ryokans (Japanese houses) available for hire with five course Japanese tasting menus, live DJs, and six food stalls offering up both Asian and contemporary cuisine it’s a fun way to warm up the now cold London nights.
The “jump the queue” tickets we had purchased allowed us to you guess it, jump the queue (although for a Thursday at 730pm there wasn’t really a line to jump!), as well as gave us a ticket for a free welcome cocktail of our choice at any of the bars. Only a limited amount of these tickets are available each night and can be reserved online here for £10, otherwise the event operates on a first come first serve basis. Cocktails run about £8 each so you don’t have much to lose if there is no queue to jump when you go.
As soon as we walked into the little Tokyo and received our cocktail tickets we headed straight for one of the bars and ordered a round of Yuzu Collins, a delicious take on the traditional Tom Collins. Another round of drinks followed, this time an Asian spin on the classic Dark and Stormy, while we tucked into a dozen fried chicken gyoza dumplings from Dorshi.
Savagely devoured is probably a more accurate description. They were insanely delicious prompting us to return to the now understandably long queue to order two dozen more, this time ordering a dozen of the steamed pork, leek, and ginger and lamb and chili pepper variety. Other vendors represented were Patty & Bun, Bubbledogs, Nanny Bills, CocoFace, and Walter & Monty.
We also feverishly tore into fried katsu chicken sandwiches from Nanny Bills, teriyaki steak buns with fresh pickled cucumbers also from Nanny Bills, and mochi ice cream from CocoFace. Though we had been expecting more traditional Japanese cuisine options such as ramen or yakitori we weren’t disappointed with what we chose and Angie says she went to bed with visions of dumplings dancing in her head.
Want to sample these amazing dumplings for yourself? You had better hurry, Tokyo Nights is only open for another 5 weeks!