MELBOURNE | Mr Miyagi is a modern Japanese eatery on Chapel Street that’s built a solid following of customers who keep coming back for tasty, inventive Japanese food in a fun dining environment. Walk inside the venue and you’re greeted with a slick space full of neon lights, snappy slogans, low and high tables, seats and benches, in a low lit space looking into a fast paced open kitchen. Down the narrow side of the kitchen is further seating, which opens out into cocktail bar/waiting area Yukie’s Snack Bar.
While waiting in Yukie’s for your table, you’ll probably turn your eye to the cocktail menu, which features a number of tasty creations to match the theme of the food. The ‘Hello Kitty Sour’, with lychee, citrus, vodka, paraiso, egg white, is always a good choice, while those looking for something less sweet should give the ‘Yakuza Sour’ a go, with smoked amaretto, bourbon, lemon. There is, of course, beer and wine on offer too, along with a small selection of snacks.
Once you get to your table at the restaurant proper, and take a look at the menu, you’ll be tempted to order with your stomach rather than your brain because there’s a lot that sounds great. Thankfully, the food here more often than not lives up to its promise. Do be aware though that this isn’t the place for authentic Japanese. It’s not what they do nor is it what they claim to do. The signatures Salmon Nori Taco is a must order item, and sees the prawn cracker like crispy taco shell filled with grilled salmon belly, sushi rice, spicy napa cabbage, Kewpie mayo, and chilli oil. It’s texturally complex, full of well balanced flavours, and delicious. Other must try items are the Black Pig Gyoza – panfried black pig dumplings, with soy, chilli, ginger, and sesame dipping sauce, and the Tuna Tataki Pizza, which is served as a spiced flat bread topped with rare seared tuna, yuzu, caesar cream, heirloom tomatoes, and jalapenos. It just works.
For those with a sweet tooth, the dessert menu features a few interesting items, including on of the best desserts we’ve had in a while, ‘Pumpkin Toast” served with white chocolate and pumpkin ganache, honeycomb, yoghurt sorbet, and spiced pumpkin ice cream. It’s rich, full of flavour, texturally complex, and not too sweet.
There’s a lot of other stuff on the menu that we’ve enjoyed over the years, and while some dishes aren’t as interesting or tasty as the aforementioned ones, we’ve never had a bad meal here. The atmosphere is always fun, the service friendly, and we always leave with a smile on our faces.
It’s a testament to Mr Miyagi that after almost four years, it still feels like a real hot spot on Chapel Street.
99 Chapel Street
Telephone: (03) 9529 5999
Tue – Sun: 5:00pm to 10:30pm