French meets Japan supper club at Mirey’s Restaurant

My friends Gerry and Ko have set up a popup restaurant in south London, showcasing their creative talent and delicious food.


The event took place in the London Cooking Project, a community-run culinary initiative in Battersea aimed at fostering budding catering talent in the area.


We signed up and were provided with this tantalising menu.


During a fairly manic pre-Christmas week it was lovely to get a chance to relax and enjoy someone else’s cooking – especially given its sophistication. What a treat!


On arrival guests were provided with a glass of French cider blended with a fruit syrup.


Otherwise it was BYOB, although Ko and Gerry brought back a case of sake from a recent trip to Japan and I was highly intent on trying some. 


I chose a dry sake from Hokkaido (where Ko comes from) which went very well with our first course: generously sliced tuna carpaccio with a tongue-tingling garnish of shredded daikon, green apple and fragrant herbs spices. It wasn’t just diverse in terms of its flavours; the inclusion of shiso leaves (perilla) and pink peppercorns turned it into a full-mouth sensation.


Next came a delicious steak tartare, with croutons, edamame, spicy sauce and a raw quail’s egg among other things.


Delicious and light, it was a real treat of contrasting textures, including the croutons which were served inside the tartare.


Next came a delicious lamb dish. Encrusted in pistachio nuts, the cutlets were sat on a bed of aubergine in spicy miso sauce.


A truly international dish, the lime really enhanced and united all of the flavours.


The aubergines were also particularly spicy which I loved.

For dessert we were presented with a trio of sweets. From the left to the right we had a yuzu cheesecake biscuit which was light and refreshing, followed by a matcha green tea Yule log, then sweet adzuki beans with a sweet sake jelly.


The latter was my favourite, with its surprising, light textures.


The atmosphere was also really fun – relaxed and friendly, I made several new friends from Europe and Japan.


I’m very pleased to report that Ko and Gerry will be resident at the Cuckoo pub in Islington from the new year so be sure to check out their food and stay up to date with their work here!

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The Apple Martini (aka the Appletini)

This drink, the apple martini, took several attempts (and a strong liver) to perfect.

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My first recipe simply involved sour apple spirit (there are several brands) mixed with vodka (stored for at least a day in the freezer) garnished with an apple slice.

2 parts sour apple spirit
4-5 parts vodka
Apple slice

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While visually appealing with its clear green hue, I thought its chemical flavour was too strong and did not do justice to the fruit. I wanted a more natural apple taste. I also thought I could do more with the garnish.

So, after a few different experiments, I came up with the following:

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Thinly slice a green apple into round slivers, one for each of the martinis you intend to make. Try to make them as thin as possible so they are flexible, almost like paper, although this is difficult without breaking them.

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Cover both sides of the slices in sugar and set aside in the fridge, ideally for half an hour or more. If you know how to crystallise fruit this might be a good way to do it as well.

Chop up the rest of the apple into small chunks, discarding the core.

Put a squeeze of honey (around 1-2 tsp) into a Pyrex bowl and add around 30ml of boiling water. Stir until the honey dissolves.

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Add the apple, then add around 50ml sour apple spirit.

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Use a hand blender to turn the mixture into a small, highly alcoholic smoothie.

Take a martini glass from the freezer, then add the following in order:

1 measure sweet vermouth (or to taste)
2 measures of the smoothie (or to taste)
2-3 measures of vodka (or to taste)

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How you garnish the martini is up to you.

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But if you serve the slice of sugar-apple floating on the drink you might want to provide your drinkers with chopsticks or some other means of removing the slice elegantly from the glass.

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It’s a very sweet martini.

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And the combination of sugar and alcohol give it quite an explosive quality with a potentially devastating impact.

You have been warned!