The team behind Brilliant Corners, Giant Steps, and Idle Moments have continued their tradition of venues named after jazz albums with their latest venue, which is called “Mu”, after Don Cherry’s 1969 album. Taking over the old Rotorino site next door to The Haggerston, this is the team’s biggest venue yet and has a more sophisticated, grown up feel, centred around live music rather than the DJ-focused party vibes of their previous ventures.
The team have done a great job on the interiors, keeping some of the dark moody atmosphere of Rotorino, but thoroughly smartening the place up with a wood-panelled curved ceiling, hanging globe lights, and sleek modern furniture. There’s a large bar and a performance space which is the heart of the room and the headline feature of the “Mu” experience. We loved the space but given the whole concept is geared towards live music, we weren’t sure why they’d chosen to include a long line of regular two top tables along the back wall, meaning that a whole row of people have their backs to the performers or have to strain their necks round to see. A missed opportunity to design seating that all faced outwards perhaps.
There’s regular live music every night, with a mixture of resident musicians and guests, with two performances each night – check the website for the listings of what’s coming up. Alongside the music, you’ll definitely want to tuck into the Japanese-inspired food and drink. Go heavy on the snacks – they were some of our favourite dishes of the night – including the rich scallop skewers; beef tartare served with crisp toasted seaweed; fried aubergine and white miso; and fresh sliced yellowtail with yuzu and pomegranate.
If you do all that, one main course will easily be enough between two to share, especially if you go for the epic pork tonkatsu – tender pork covered in crisp panko breadcrumbs and served with white cabbage and homemade tonkatsu sauce. Some nori fries and baby gem lettuce covered in miso are the perfect accompaniments. To drink there’s a short sharp selection of cocktails, beers, sakes and a decent lengthy wine list too.
We loved our night at “Mu” and it was nice to do something a bit different. If you find yourself hitting up the same old pubs and restaurants again and again, this is a great place to to mix it up a bit and try something new.
433-434 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AU