When we decided to start this Monday Night Supper Club, the point of it was not only for us to find a suitable life partners for Chelsea K and Alex, but also to seek out some great dining destinations in our city. It never ceases to amaze me the sheer number of fantastic establishments there are in Calgary, and I’m excited that these regular dining adventures are allowing us to have some delicious experiences week after week. This particular week of the supper club brought us to the restaurant Anju. Being tucked away on the corner of 5th Ave and 10th st SW, it is definitely a little off the radar. That being said, many of us had heard that this place boasted some of the best Korean fusion dishes in town. Anju actually means tapas or a dish eaten with alcohol. So, it was finally time to taste, drink and find out for ourselves!
(On a side note, we’re trying to decide on a supper club graphic, pictured above, which Chelsea K has been working on. Which one do you like? Let me know!)
For this dinner, we were offered a chef’s tasting menu to be cooked up by the chef/owner Roy Oh, so everything would be a surprise. I’m always cool with surprises, unless it’s a crazy man dressed up as a clown jumping out of my closet. That kind of surprise is not ok…
Anyway, the first dish that was brought out to us was some lobster sashimi. This was my (and I’m pretty sure everyone else’s) first time having raw lobster and it was interesting. Very fresh tasting, and seasoned nicely with a bit of after-heat.
Next, the table was served a plate of fried soft tofu bites with green onions and a tangy sauce. Oddly enough, this was one of the highlights of the dinner for me. It always manage to impress me when you can have tofu and actually enjoy it. I know you’re nodding your head in agreement.
Another great moment happened for us during the dinner when we were served some platters of chicken wings. For a moment, each person looked around the table, not knowing exactly what to think. I mean, this was a chef’s tasting after all, we thought we were being all ‘fancy‘. It was then that we were informed that these delicious wings were there only to serve as a reminder that ‘this was not fine dining’. Laughter ensued. I mean, who doesn’t like a good chicken wing? They were awesome.
Now, the time had come for the main course. We fought over pieces of marinated flat iron steak, a whole roasted Broek Acres pork shoulder (which had been brined, then slow-roasted), and also a mackeral dish. That one we left mostly for Chelsea K, since she’s the only pesco-vegetarian in the group. The meat was accompanied by butter lettuce, kimchi, and oyster kimchi so we could all make our own lettuce wraps (bo ssam in Korean)! Fun! As you can probably imagine, we all had our fair share of these. The pork was fall apart tender and I always like the heat from a good batch of kimchi.
Once we reached a point where we could eat no more, we were then served dessert. Unfortunately, my photo quality had been questionable at best throughout the night, and by the time this sweet (literally) asian pear pie with vanilla ice cream came around I was no longer the very average photographer I pride myself on being. In addition to sipping on my beloved Steam Whistle Pilsner (a beer which I will actually marry one day), the table was also served a korean drink called Soju. We had two versions, lychee flavoured and yogurt flavoured. They were refreshing and went down quite easily. I’m pretty sure I didn’t need to help myself to the Soju quite so freely…anyway…
The best part of dining Korean tapas style here at Anju was that it encouraged sharing, and conversation between everyone. This was the largest Monday Night Supper Club to date, where about half of the group did not know each other. Coupled with sitting in a comfortable atmosphere, it truly was an evening of great conversation, good jokes, and, perhaps, a couple inappropriate ones too! There’s nothing like breaking the ice over some Soju! Am I right people?
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