Ajitama: The Supper Club of Lisbon, which serves the Japan to the table
Friday, 22: 00:
– Cups today?
– Will not give, I have Ajitama.
– You have what???
– I have to cook. We talk about tomorrow!
There are 13 weeks that the conversation repeats itself, and John Ferreira is only waiting for the day that the friends no longer invite you to night out. To Friday it is almost impossible to be able to fit into the social life with the Supper Club that you created with António Carvalhão but there was a time in which you had to leave the Lux at 3: 00 a.m. in the morning to go check the cooking of a pork belly black. But we’ll get to that.
This is a story of two longtime friends who share the passion for Japan and that are assumed to be obsessed by perfection, two factors that greatly contributed to create the first Ramen Club in Portugal. Traveled the world, still during college, and Antonio landed in Hiroshima almost by chance to complete the course of Management. John stood by China to work, with frequent travel to Tokyo , and took advantage of the airlifts to prove, analyze, and compare the Ramen were served in one country and in another. Meanwhile, Antonio was going to creating a gastronomical itinerary site dedicated to the famous caldo east and it didn’t take long to conclude that, despite the dish being typically chinese, with its origin in Mongolia, in Japan still kept the recipe a hundred percent handmade and for the same reason, it was there that they were the best copies in the world.
They returned to Lisbon and ran the crusaders all in the rush to find the same flavor complex and accurate of the tascos japanese. Managed to get a few approaches very faithful to the original but never felt the comfort of other times. They felt that there was a formatting of the concept and a lot of cheating in the methods of cooking.
“And if we were to do a Ramen source to experience?”.
About 36 hours later had the bowl ready, and launched it to the test. It was not quite that. Repeated, insisted, and left the head trying to figure out what was failing. Called friends for a tasting and although they were all more than satisfied with the result, Anthony and John knew that they had not yet arrived there. Took 13 months to fine-tune the recipe to get the one that is today probably the best and most faithful Ramen Lisbon.
On the following Saturday, they opened the door of the house with ten strangers for the first dinner of the Ajitama, the first Supper Club of Ramen in Lisbon who was looking for the name of a popular expression that means “egg-seasoned and lightly baked”. Because the egg, in the case of Ramen, it is precisely the star of the dish and set with the cooking time is a mission which can result quickly in surrender and abandonment of the cause. Such obsession for perfection spoke loud and while there they saw the yolk to separate into a continuous yarn, and consistent not rested.
It took 11 months of thermometers, watches set to the thousandth of a second and many sighs deep to get the perfect consistency, it was only after they began experimenting with the technique of seasoning that gives a dark color to the yolk and condimenta the broth, and that consists of a junction of two sauces, soy-based, that are in the house, in which the eggs are left to marinate during the night. In the end, to not be failures, the halves are separated with a nylon thread. Path cut, always gives a bit of a mess, “is crime and punishment,” for which there is no space for concessions.
The noodles are also homemade, and imply a gymnastics arm complicated with a machine to make folder to get the wires perfect in thickness and consistency. The junction of the two flours, one with a high content of gluten, and the other with low content of gluten, making the dough too stiff to shape, and in addition there was the problem of, the revenue common, the noodles continue to cook in the bowl, which would eventually result in pope gosmosa… and this, never! They realized that the trick was to use alkaline water, and in the impossibility of the encounter in Lisbon, decided to do it at home with the help of baking soda and a few lights from the chemical that the family was going through.
A normal person would already be tired of so much preparation, but Antonio and John have the gift of persistence in doses enviable, so make two broths from 7am each one is practically a walk in the park. One for chicken, another for vegetables , and, of course, the pork belly black that will stow during the night, and that it must be religiously checked every two hours. If you need to quit Lux and go to the house to control the stove, so be it.
The Ajitama has a year now, and guess many more in the curriculum. Maybe Lisbon is not yet accustomed to the concept of the dining experiences in private homes but the hundreds of reservation requests are pending in the e-mail of this Supper Club show that the paradigm is changing and there are many curious and restless to embark in the adventure to share a table with strangers.
The dinners take place on Saturdays at 21.30, and are accompanied by beer, the japanese, white and red wine from Herdade dos Grous, a bavarois of matcha, coffee and whiskey… japanese.
The reservation is compulsory and the address is only revealed to those who secured a place. The contribution is at the discretion of each one, but let’s not forget, the Ramen arrives at the table will always be the result of two days of intense work in the kitchen.
Ah, missing only say that none of the two heads has training in the kitchen. And who both work full-time.
Booking via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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