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