The food was amazing, but the service lacked some polish.
That is how I would describe the experience in one sentence. Mr Miyagi is an incredibly popular Chapel St restaurant that is constantly teeming with customers. It’s modern Japanese food with a few twists, and more than a quirk or two.
In order to get a table, we got in early. No bookings here. It was Friday night and it seemed reasonable to get there as early as 5:30pm. We were surprised to arrive at an empty restaurant, but after sitting down in prime real estate at the front window, the place very quickly filled up. Dark, but dripping with cool.
The menu presents a real challenge, because there are so many dishes I wanted to try. Annoyingly, the waiter insisted on making recommendations, whilst scribbling on the paper menu – hello OCD trigger! Ignoring his advice we chose for ourselves.
First came the Nori Taco. A piece of nori, battered and fried to hold the shape of a taco, then filled generously with salmon. A delight of richness and ingenuity.
The Wagyu Tartare Pipe followed very quickly after. A “pipe” made of spring roll pastry, filled with a rich mix of raw beef, complemented by a spicy sauce and Japanese “Kewpie” mayo.
Next was the Black Pig Gyoza, which looked so good I almost forgot to take a photo. A quality gyoza, but lacked the ingenuity or inventiveness of the previous two dishes. Nonetheless a worthy ode to more traditional Japanese cuisine.
Nikuman Steamed Pork Bun was an absolute triumph of deliciousness, although annoyingly another dish with an odd number, shared between 2 people. Slow cooked pork, pickled butternut squash, barbecue sauce all wrapped up in a steamed bun, bao style. Yum!
Finally, Miyagi Fried Chicken, beautifully presented KFC style in a box. Nice dish, but came at the end of a big meal. Was nice, but nothing to rave about. This was served with Kewpie mayo again. If I have one complaint about the food: overuse of this mayonnaise. Seriously, the Japanese do have some great sauces. Enough already. At the time I made a comment that they must be getting this stuff delivered in 20L buckets. It’s seriously on everything!
We spotted a number of dishes that we felt we missed out on – Mr M’s Tonka Slider one of them. Perhaps another meal is in order? Those small dishes add up to a filling and satisfying food experience.
The service at Mr Miyagi was a little pushy, and altogether not so great. Perhaps this is a product of how busy they are; the rush to keep things under control on what looked like a very busy Friday night. I would have liked to have felt a little more relaxed, but at this price point they probably have it about right. This is definitely a place on my Melbourne must-go list. Bucket list tick.