The ICN Gallery is a modest Shoreditch space showcasing contemporary works from young and upcoming artists – mostly Japanese ones. The sparsely decorated gallery is currently showcasing the mesmerising acrylic-on-resin goldfish paintings of Riusuke Fukahori, on display until Wednesday January 11, and it’s a lovely show.
The gallery has only been open since September, while their adjoining café has been quietly trading since October. We found the café to be like an extension of the zen-like feeling of Fukahori’s paintings, decked out with just a few simple benches and counter tables, with exposed bulbs and photographic prints displayed across the walls.
Foodwise, the café doesn’t do many hot dishes – apart from miso soup and pre-packed udon noodles – as everything is pre-made and displayed in chillers in the style of the Wasabi or Itsu chains, but with more of a home-style quality.
We liked the nimono (simmered dishes) of lotus root, burdock, konnyaku jelly and carrots, and the marinated deep-fried chicken; staff will microwave the food for you. The gallery features its own brand of high-quality Japanese teas from Shizuoka in Honshu, under the AOI brand. We loved the toasty sweetness of their genmaicha (roasted rice with green tea). Come for a chinwag, a brew and perhaps a small wagashi (Japanese confectionery) after some art appreciation.