Brilliant Corners

Restaurants Kingsland
  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(11 user reviews)
5 Love It
Save it

It was hard to avoid watching a bunch of fifty-somethings gyrating to funk and soul music as we tried to concentrate on nibbling our sushi.  We felt as if we'd stumbled into a private party, but there were no brilliant corners to escape to.  With loudspeakers at every turn, we even had difficulty hearing our dining companions, let alone appreciating the Japanese food.
 
Brilliant Corners is based on Japan’s jazz coffee shops (kissaten) where customers go to hear the likes of Thelonious Monk – from whose album this venue takes its name – or more contemporary jazz played on vinyl.  At the same time they can tuck into sandwiches, cakes, or – in some – a restaurant-style meal.

But this place seems more Dalston than down-town Tokyo. A plate of vegetable tempura was decent enough, but the sauce on our sweet and salty-grilled beef with brown rice lacked balance, and the meat itself was far from tender.
 
For a night of random drinks (mescal, rum, sherry and natural wine all feature) and equally random dancing, Brilliant Corners can definitely oblige; but for a meal out, there are plenty of better options in the area.

By Celia Plender

Venue name: Brilliant Corners
Contact:
Address: 470 Kingsland Rd
London
E8 4AE
Opening hours: Wed-Sat 5.30pm-midnight; 4-midnight Sun.
Transport: Overground: Dalston Junction.
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service around £60.
Do you own this business?

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|11
1 person listening
eve v
2 of 2 found helpful

I dont think Miss Plender from Time Out understands what Brillant Corners is about. There is nothing random about the music and drinks there. If you can name another place in London where you can enjoy an excellent natural wine for 5 £ a glass while listening to really good music played in what is probably the best hand crafted sound system around please let us know. Please Time Out stop the mainstream choice and open yourself to new destination.

Alanna S
1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Timeout review has got it so wrong! Brilliant Corners is an awesome bar. Understated from the outside, it's actually a fairly big space inside. Dimly lit with great music. Order a bunch of plates to share, it's all Japanese inspired and really reasonably priced. Order a rum and ginger to drink - they are the best in London.

Lisa S
1 of 1 found helpful
moderator

A rare, grown-up bar in Dalston. Low lighting and an excellent drinks list make for a cosy place to spend an evening. Even serves sushi late in to the night on a Sunday. Highly recommend a visit.

Frank
1 of 1 found helpful

Went there randomly a couple of weeks ago escaping from the hyped bars around Dalston Junction, and ended spending the rest of the night there. Ended having excellent sushi (Nigiri i think it was) and drinking the best mezcal I have ever tried. After midninght the tables magically disappeared and I enjoyed one of the best nights out dancing to amazing music (funk, brazilian, tropicalia and more) tothe best sound system ive ever heard in london (excepting some big clubs, but its a different game here) in a very friendly and natural atmosphere. I went there again during the week to have a quieter dinner and enjoy some of the natural wines. Staff is graceful and attentive. Very inspiring place. I heard they do a jazz night every month called played twice, where they play a seminal jazz album back to back to  a silent crowd, and then a live jazz band re-interpretates the album. I will not miss the next one! Totally recommend this place for the music, the food and the drinks, the sound! and the lovely athmosphere. 

Henry L
1 of 1 found helpful

Completely agree with Eve V. This place is awesome and there is nowhere else like it in London as far as I know. Great food and drink at very reasonable prices, brilliant music on an incredible sound system (probably the best in London) and a nice buzzy atmosphere to boot. They also have some fantastic DJs and the place doubles up as a great party spot a bit later at night over the weekend. All in all one of the best spots in London I think

Kateryna V
Tastemaker

Such a brilliant (pun intended) grown up place in Dalston! Passing by day you wouldn't know there's a bar / restaurant / club behind the discreet black facade between two local shopfronts. So it's good Time Out and I are here to guide you. There's a separate cocktail bar area at the entrance, leading to a dining room behind the heavy black curtain. The dining room gives way to a dancing area around midnight, but you can enjoy the funky / jazzy soundtrack earlier. I hear they have one of the best sound systems around. I'm not a pro, but whatever they have there definitely works: the sound was immersive and crystal clear and audible without being overpowering - the quality of sound achieved not by blasting up the volume, but by the clarity and balance (again, rookie talk). Food wise, they serve Japanese with seasonal British fused in, mostly successfully. The quality of the fish is amazing. You absolutely must try their sashimi (yellowtail was amazing and melt in your mouth). The bar menu is heavy on wines (that was a surprise, one always assumes Dalston is all about cocktail bars), and features natural / orange wines. Not everything at Brilliant Corners is amazing, though. The edamame were a disappointment (difficult to pop and the advertised Himalayan salt barely to be found). The service was at times slow. But I do want to come back for that sashimi soon and stay long enough to dance.

Von B
tastemaker

Brilliant drinks. Brilliant sushi. Brilliant sounds from every corners. Everytime. One of the best spots in Dalston.

VanessaK
tastemaker

Tasty sushi with good music. Small menu, that's quite experimental and not traditional,  with a few gluten free options. The place gets quite crowded in the evening, so book a table or expect just to hang out at the bar or stand. The place is famous for it's speakers imported from a night club in nyc -- and yes you can tell, the sound is great especially on a good jazz night.

VictoriaCPLT
tastemaker

Bar discovery of the month! Went there to attend a jazz gig on a weeknight and didn't want to leave! Great cosy atmosphere with quality music. Had heard it was one of the best sound systems one could find in London, I can confirm the vintage speakers all around the room just wrap you in a smooth sound blanket. 

Other surprise was the cocktail menu, that offers a great selection of spirits, wines and cocktails. Their Negroni is a must! And the sushi menu was mouth-watering, haven't tried it yet but from what I could see it looked so good. Going back very soon to try it all!

Goobi K

It's not just the food that's brilliant at Brilliant Corners. The quality of the music at this much loved Japanese restaurant, wine bar and audiophile venue is also mouth watering!

heather f

watch out for the owner! very weird vibes...end of the evening, we finished our meal and were suddenly asked to leave whilst the rest of the restaurant sat enjoying their drinks...when we asked as to why, we were told that we needed to become friends with him or get a job to stay!