MELBOURNE | Yukie’s Snack Bar at Mr Miyagi Windsor is literally just the back room at Mr Miyagi but there’s actually more than one would expect to differentiate it from the popular restaurant proper. For starters, the space is bright with white walls and is relatively spacious (but small). This in in stark contrast to the low lit, dark brick walled narrow space of Mr Miyagi. The food at Yukie’s follows the same philosophy as Mr Miyagi – innovative twists on food from across Eastern Asia (predominantly Japan), but the items on the pared back menu differ. The City Lane was invited to try out the food and drinks at Yukie’s and didn’t pay on this occasion, however prices have been included for your reference.
On-theme commissioned street art adorns the laneway wall that is visible from the floor to ceiling window that faces the back of this space which has been described as “not quite a bar, not quite a restaurant”.
There is a good selection of alcoholic drinks at Yukie’s but the highlights are without a doubt the refreshing, light, Asian inspired cocktails. A few of the classics from Mr Miyagi have made there way onto the cocktail list, and there are a few new creations too. Two of the best that we sampled on the night were the Mr M’s Mai Tai ($17.00) with banana, mango, rum, umeshu, yuzu and lime and the Salted Watermelon Martini ($17.00) with gin, apple, watermelon and midori infused watermelon balls.
Japanese Eggplant Rice Paper ($3.50 each)
The food is more snack oriented than that at Mr Miyagi, and the night kicked off with the Japanese rice paper which contained grilled eggplant, miso glaze, cucumber, peppery leaves. This is one of those dishes that you give to people who say they don’t do vegetarian food. Each mouthful is full of fresh Japanese inspored flavour, and the meatiness of the eggplant gives it real body.
Soba Noodle Rice Paper ($4.00 each)
For those who simply must have meat, there ‘s the soba noodle rice paper with master stock poached chicken, lap cheong hoi sin. It’s tasty, but not as flavoursome as the eggplant version. It felt as though something was missing – perhaps it was simply because the eggplant one was so good.
Nori Taco ($12.00 each)
Ok, so this fan favourite isn’t actually on the Yukie’s menu but were lucky enough to be served the nori taco on the night. It’s filled with grilled salmon belly, sushi rice, spicy napa cabbage, Kewpie and chilli oil. Probably the most delicious thing we ate all night. Yes Yukie’s is meant to have an identity of its own but this needs to be on the Yukie’s menu – it’s that good. It’s got so many contrasting textures and flavours and shouldn’t work but it does.
Himalayan Salt Slab Cured Kingfish ($15.00)
Kingfish sashimi is a favourite of ours and this version topped with quinoa, green chilli, coriander, fennel, apple, lemon is fresh and tasty. The topping isn’t overpowering and works well with the fresh, fleshy fish. Just make sure you eat this one relatively quickly, before too much of the salt seeps through the fish.
Wagyu Brisket Betel Leaf ($8.00 each)
Asian-style betel leaf usually goes down a treat but this version falls flat. Filled with wagyu brisket, peanut satay, red chilli, coconut and lime the theory is sound but it doesn’t really work all too well together. Perhaps it’s the ingredient proportions rather than the ingredients themselves? Some tweaking and it could be a superstar.
Wagyu Tartare Pipe ($7.00 each)
Back to winning ways is this 7+ wagyu tartare beef pipe filled with peanut butter, Korean miso, capers, sesame, spring roll pastry. A quite mild dish with all of the flavours working really well in harmony and some nice textural complexity.
Apple Wood Smoked Salmon Tostadita ($8.00 each)
The tostadas bring a Mexican twist to the menu with apple wood smoke salmon, chipotle, nashi pear, fennel, celery, apple salad. It sounds confused when you read it but it works nicely. A bit fiddly to eat, but worth it once the food hits your mouth.
When you first make your way to the back room at Mr Miyagi you’re a bit confused as to what the space is supposed to be but once you settle in things make a lot of sense. The Japanese influenced design is clean and modern, with a few unique flourishes here and there, and this flows on to the food and drinks. If you’re looking to chill out on Chapel street this hidden space is definitely one you should consider.
Yukie’s Snack Bar At Mr Miyagi
99 Chapel Street
Telephone: (03) 9529 5999
E-mail: [email protected]