The Secret Izakaya Japanese Supper Club at The Grapes, Bath

As you know, The Grapes recently opened in Bath. What you might not know is that The Secret Izakaya, a Japanese supper club, started hosting some of their Japanese food and drink filled evenings there.

Izakayas are Japanese local taverns serving small plates of food to accompany drinks with friends to make the whole event more enjoyable - similar to tapas in Spain! The food is normally shared to give everyone a variety of flavours over the course of an evening. These dishes can vary from the traditional to the unexpected and The Secret Izakaya has created their own version of this marrying an informal food setting with friends, fun and sake! 🍶

Apologies for the low-quality photos - the whole evening was candlelit which was super vibey and added to the ambience, but it meant that it was very difficult to take photos.

Kombu-cured Sea Bream Tartare with a yuzu marinade

This also came with cucumbers in soy sauce and pickled radishes (in rice vinegar) which were delightful and lovely paired together. We added these two the sea bream which created a delicious salty and tangy flavour. We loved the yuzu (a Japanese citrus) 🍋!

Cornish mackerel sashimi gently marinated in rice vinegar served both raw and seared (aburi) 

We absolutely loved the sashimi - it was probably our favourite dish. We loved how the seared ones were smokey and a little bit charred which the picture doesn't really caption. It was also served with daikon (the shaved white veggie on the side) which we had never tried but tasted peppery. 

We then had some pickled mushrooms (not on the menu) which really stood out to us. The classic mushroom texture was still there but they became extremely flavourful.

There was then a choice between Miso and Sake Mussels or slow-braised pork belly (Buta no Kakuni). We went for the Mussels.

These were Exmouth mussels steamed in sake with miso shiro and togarashi. We loved the familiar Japanese flavours of miso and sake. Miso shiro is white miso which is made of fermented soya beans and rice, whereas togarashi is a kind of spicy dried chilli powder (Japanese style, of course ✌🏼). 

This dish was really warming - perfect for the colder months, and kind of like a chowder. Super rich and creamy. It was served with a side of rice which was great to absorb some more of the sauce. 

Chicken Karaage - juicy fried chicken bites, Japanese style.

This was probably the one that we were least impressed by just because it was quite a standard dish, but everyone seemed to enjoy it as it was one of the more 'recognisable' dishes.

This was also served with some sesame green beans which we absolutely loved! The sesame seeds added a lot of flavour and a nice crunch to the side. But then again, we do love green beans. 

Spicy Miso Ramen 🍜

This was ramen served with sliced marinated pork belly (chasu), seasoned greens and a soft boiled egg. The ramen was comforting, hearty and had a complex yet smooth pork flavoured broth. The noodles were perfectly cooked (not overly so - which can often happen), but the star was definitely the broth, demonstrating the time and effort gone into making it.

Soba Cha Pudding (buckwheat custard)

This was a silky, smooth custard infused with roasted buckwheat (soba). It was a Western take on Japanese flavours and was an interesting, refreshing twist to the classic. We thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a great way to end a predominantly savoury meal.

We were also served four different types of sake with the dishes. The first one was really sweet and served twice, whereas the third and fourth were both aged sakes. We're not very acquainted with sake in general, so we were super happy to try them and learn some more.

Overall, we would highly *highly* recommend going to one of the Secret Izakaya's supper clubs. We walked away thoroughly stuffed and at £35 per person, it's truly a bargain. We tried lots of different dishes with new flavours and cooking methods. Plus, it's always nice to chat to new people!

They're planning to hold more events in the future such as sake tastings, Japanese film nights and set menu meals. Their restaurant Budo Ba opens properly on the 8th of November (more information can be found in our monthly newsletter - sign up here for updates 👈🏼) so keep an eye out for that!

Thank you to the Secret Izakaya team for having us ☺️

Disclaimer: Complimentary experience.