Dining Out: "Nikkei" Pop-Up Dinner

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"It's Peruvian-Japanese cuisine, which has a storied culture rooted in the Japanese migrant population of Peru."

I wanted to share photos with you guys of the "Nikkei" pop-up dinner last June (I know, I know, I even procrastinate on procrastinating). It was a gorgeous collaboration between chef Daniel Urdaneta of Mosto, a Western restaurant with Peruvian influences from its South American chef-owner, and Alan Wong of Hatsune, Beijing's first and by far most successful California-style sushi restaurant.

What is Nikkei, the theme of the night's one-off dinner menu?: it's Peruvian-Japanese cuisine, which probably sounds like a random combination drawn from names out of a hat, but in fact has a storied culture rooted in the Japanese migrant population of Peru. You can learn more about it in this excellent article and this video in Vice Magazine's "Munchies" food section.

Hardly anything more need be said; I invite you to simply enjoy these photos, some loaned from star Beijing blogger Kristen Lum of www.lumdimsum.com. From the painstakingly Kinfolk-ish decor, the location, the drinks and food down to the jovial hospitality, this was certainly the first and best pop-up of its kind in Beijing; let's hope there are many more to come to continue awing and inspiring us.

Cocktails to sip away the sunset and kick off the evening: of course, featuring the Peruvian national drink, the Pisco Sour.

1. Chef Daniel prepares the first bites of the evening; 2. the delicious starter of mixed fish ceviche with popcorn; duo of oysters, French fin de claire with jalapeño salsa & American kumamoto with yuzu and spicy radish; 3. "tiradito" of hamachi and salmon dressed with aji amarillo chili, ginger soy, okra and radish; 4. Alan preparing the sushi plate of flounder, spicy radish and yuzu (left), salt ‘n pepper steak & eggs with truffle compote (center), and scallop, aji amarillo, shiso with ikura (right); 5. a tian of octopus, potato, Kalamata, avocado & fried octopus; 6. a bite of lobster with Kalamata sauce and Toro with ponzu and rock salt.

1. An absolutely sexy, silky fresh pasta course with uni (Japanese sea urchin), coddled egg, caviar and foie gras oil; 2. Wagyu beef, purple potato, Yakiniku sauce, lotus chip, avocado salsa and white asparagus; 3. fresh uni with seared squid, lobster sauce, okra, white yam and tempura iceplant leaf. Although I'm not an uni lover, Alan managed to source some startlingly delicious, clean-tasting ones with a gentle ocean flavour that I loved.

 Fin: a creamy crème brûlée from Awfully Chocolate

Fin: a creamy crème brûlée from Awfully Chocolate

Bravo to Daniel and Alan; thank you for the great food, wonderful company, bottomless glasses of Pisco Sours and fine wines, and most of all thank you for making Beijing a more interesting place!