Reiko Hashimoto has just completed a series of Sushi Masterclasses at her cookery school Hashi .To introduce us to a taster of some of her other fantastic classes we were invited to The Loft at The Club at The Ivy. On the agenda were Gyoza (a shallow fried dumpling which is effectively first steamed and then allowed to continue cooking to crisp up the base) and in contrast a Siu-Mai dumpling which is simply steamed and with a more protein rich content to keep the moisture levels to a minimum. We also used a yellow coloured shu mai wrapper which is very attractive once cooked and decorated in a traditional Japanese style using brightly coloured green peas. Reiko clearly took us through the technique for producing these tasty Japanese delicacies and I think we all felt quite smug having mastered the wrapping and pleating of the wrappers. To accompany these Reiko made us a Vegetable Soba Noodle Salad and a selection of dipping sauces and dressings using Yutaka Soy Sauce, Mirin and Toasted Sesame Oil. In addition to a very decadent Sunday afternoon we tasted two premium Japanese Sake from Tengu Sake. The first was Konishi Ginjo Hiyashibori which was served very chilled and a light and fruity flavour and a lower alcohol content. The second Seiku Honjozo Karakuchi and again not warm, a dry sake with more of a peppery flavour. I was definitely left feeling an urge to continue my Japanese culinary adventure with our fantastic teacher.
After a late lunch I was thrilled to be taken on a tour of The Club at the Ivy by the wonderful and charming Monte. There is a warm and welcoming character to this establishment and the green leather, oak and stained glass appears to have been carefully preserved. The drawing room style dining area is lined with bookshelves and a library of books to reflect the many interests of the members. The rooms are adorned with an amazing collection of Contemporary British Art. In the heart of theatreland this has long been a thespian club and a bolthole for Artists and Actors. One of many colourful members was Sebastian Horsley. His amazing top hat is encased in a glass box and reminiscent of a top hat that would not look out of place in a Dr Seuss story. A London artist who was famed for a life of drug addiction, eccentric tailoring and women. In the reception is one of his artworks entitled ‘Hookers, Dealers,Tailors’ summing up his lifestyle!