Mr. M says Japanese food will never taste the same. And when Miyagi speaks, Melbourne listens.Mr. Miyagi is both authentic and modern, taking the best of Japanese tradition and mixing it with a Melbourne twist. This intoxicating combination will have you calling for a second date before the first is even over.
Kristian Klein and Andy Restein are the duo hiding behind the Miyagi mask. Andy completed a commerce degree and went on to work in human resources, but a serious lack of Japanese restaurants in the Chapel Street precinct inspired their venture. When floating around the idea for a Japanese restaurant, it was their friend who came up with the name, which soon became the moniker on everyone’s lips.
Mr. Miyagi has created a modern street-food hawker-style space. A neon love heart sets the romantic mood, which is accentuated by the powerline lighting throughout. The bar is clad with recycled timber – salvaged from shipwrecks – and the entrance boasts a cardboard tiling panel inspired by corrugated iron panels found in an old Asian alleys.
People from all over have been locking in a romantic date with Mr. M himself since it opened in 2013. Who can blame them? Hosting a menu with tacos and gnocchi in the same breath, you can expect the unexpected. After the waiter runs you through the menu and clues you in on the daily specials, it might take a while to narrow down what you want. Everyone will suggest you share, so you can enjoy a bite of everything.
The nori taco is a must-try but you’ll want this one all to yourself: it’s loaded up with grilled salmon belly, sushi rice, spicy napa cabbage, Japanese mayo and chilli oil. Even Colonel Sanders would approve of the Miyagi Fried Chicken with MFC seasoning and kewpie mayo. Grab a stick and go crazy for the prawn dog with a crunchy onion batter, jalapeño mayonnaise and furikake, or the grilled chicken thigh with spring onion and shichimi. Mr. Miyagi will keep you on your toes with the sushi and happy hand rolls changing regularly.
This love story has a sweet ending. The pumpkin toast with white chocolate and pumpkin ganache, house-made honeycomb, yoghurt sorbet, cinnamon and pumpkin ice cream and white chocolate rock clusters will complement any meal.
Mr. Miyagi is good, but he isn’t boastful. You will be though, after sitting back and sipping on one of the cocktails, such as the sweet and fruity Hello Kitty Sour with lychee, citrus and egg white, or Mrs. M’s favourite Astro Boy, with strawberry, fresh ginger, rum and sake. If cocktails aren’t your thing Mr. Miyagi has much more to offer, such as beer, cider and bubbles. He will colour you happy, with the list of reds, whites and pinks, and will also offer you sake from a brewery in Nada, Koba.
A visit to Mr. Miyagi comes with a warning: you may not look at Japanese food the same way again. Taking the traditional and adding a little sex appeal, it’s got everything you need for a delicious night out.