KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 — How do you start a pop-up restaurant or bar that has no kitchen, no table service or tables, for that matter? If you’re Japanese, you create a chic, minimalist bar where customers can peruse shelves filled with canned seafood, select what they like, pop open a can, and dig in with a cocktail stick.
As part of Isetan’s Tokyo Fashion District pop-up store in Bangsar’s APW (Art Printing Works) event space, Can Tsuma Bar offers cans of premium seafood from Japan, to be savoured on the spot at the wooden bar (sitting or standing – you decide) or to be taken home and relished any time the craving hits.
With more than 30 different varieties of canned seafood to choose from Can Tsuma Bar, you’d be spoilt for choice. From wine-steamed mussels to smoked herring, spicy scallops to miso firefly squid, there’s something for every palate.
We particularly enjoyed the smelt in oil, the rich and fatty fish tasting almost like browned butter, perfect with a cold beer (preferably Japanese, of course). The uni in consommé jelly had us spellbound with the sea urchin’s sweetness and roe-like texture.
Bars serving canned food are not an entirely new concept, at least abroad. In Japan, Can’s Bar, located underground near Tokyo’s Akihabara Station, offers a variety of straight-from-the-can dishes such as ajillo mushrooms and thick-cut bacon. New York wine bar Maiden Lane focuses on high-quality canned Spanish seafood such as octopus, cod liver and mejillones en escabeche (marinated mussels).
According to Maki Takeda, an Isetan manager who oversees the specialty food selection, Can Tsuma Bar is a limited-time event that will end on February 7. For canned food lovers who can’t make it to APW this week, fret not as Takeda, who will head the food division for the Cool Japan store opening later this year in Lot 10, there will be more pop-ups in the coming months.
For now, setting up the pop-up bar at APW is an inspired move as customers can always head opposite to Pulp for a caffeine fix after their ocean-sourced snack. A slowly-brewed filter coffee would do the trick; try the seasonal Hachira N2 beans roasted by Papa Palhera; its floral and fruity notes of lavender and blackberry, together with a subtle sandalwood finish, will complete your “canned” experience.
Can Tsuma Bar
APW Bangsar, 29 Jalan Riong, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
Open daily 10am-8:30pm, till Feb 7, 2016