I have so much love for Perth. For the food, for the people, for the lifestyle we are lucky enough to indulge in. But I won’t lie, I also love travelling over east – particularly to try the different cafes and restaurants on offer. So when I was in Melbourne recently with the FoodieHub team and my friend Richele suggested we go to a Chapel Street hotspot known as Mr Miyagi for dinner on the Sunday night, I leapt at the offer. I mean who doesn’t love Asian fusion food? The answer is no one.
We arrive for an early 6pm dinner but there’s already a waiting list! Luckily we manage to get in after 10 minutes or so and perch at the window seats watching the hoards of diverse Chapel Street residents and visitors pass us by.
Named after the Karate Kid character Mr Miyagi, this restaurant is absolutely buzzing and has a cheeky style to it’s delivery. There’s walls with quotes like “Wear black shirt next time make soy sauce stain invisible” and “MRMsays love is like trying to use chopsticks. Ends in forking.” It’s kitschy but somehow gets away with this tongue in cheek approach that pushes the boundaries on almost being culturally insensitive. I loved it from first sight.
The layout is long and skinny, but there’s people wedged into every crook and cranny, with dishes steadily pumping out from the kitchen. Knowing we can only have our table for an hour and a half since there’s a booking after, we dive straight into choosing what to eat that night.
Spying the salted watermelon martini ($17.00) on the cocktail menu, we both ordered one each. They came out to the table frosty cold in your traditional martini glasses, comprised of gin, apple, watermelon and midori watermelon balls.
These were so tasty! A great blend of sweet and salty, with a punch from the alcohol that wasn’t overpowering like some cocktails can be. I found this easy to drink, but wasn’t so easy to drink that I downed it in one go.
To complement our drinks, our first dish was the wagyu tartare pipe ($7.00 each) which is a ultra thin and crisp spring roll pastry with wagyu beef, peanut butter, Korean miso, capers and sesame inside. What a delicious commencement – especially in terms of texture! While not the cheapest bites, they were quite luxurious with that pastry that shattered under your teeth to reveal the oh so tender wagyu which was fatty and melt in your mouth, with an umami rich flavour profile.
I loved the inventiveness, and the fact that the dish’s taste was unlike other fusion Asian or even traditional Asian I’ve had anywhere else.
Since Richele had been there before, she was quick to pick the nori taco ($12.00 each). In no way had her description prepared me for what actually would come out! Crispy battered nori stuffed with grilled salmon belly, sushi rice, spicy napa cabbage, Japanese mayo and chilli oil (and a cheeky box to house them).
They were so plentiful and diverse in flavour and textural degrees. I actually really loved this – it was definitely one of my favourites! Salmon belly is already a rich ingredient thanks to the fatty, oily flesh, but then torching it brings out the butteriness, and makes it just plain addictive. The other ingredients dialled up the senses, and left my mouth zinging with happiness.
The kingfish ceviche ($18.00) for me sounded like a summertime treat, and was as pretty as a picture when it touched down. Delicately comprised of yellowtail kingfish, cucumber, ruby grapefruit, coconut pannacotta, red sorrel and young ginger dressing, I was expecting big things.
Sadly this dish fell short of expectations much to my disappointment! While kingfish doesn’t necessarily have the strongest flavour, I felt like the entire plate was quite mellow – and a little bland. I really wanted that young ginger dressing to smack me in the mouth with intensity, but it didn’t deliver and as a whole I felt like it was under seasoned. Not a bad dish by any means, but it paled in comparison to the rest of the meal.
The nikuman steamed pork bun bao bun ($22.00 for 3 pieces) was one of the pricier menu items, so I was expecting it to be a decent size serving – which it was. A board with 12hr pulled pork, pickled butternut squash, cucumber, ginger, Korean BBQ sauce and three soft steamed bao came out to the table, bringing with it a wonderful aroma.
Definitely a modern interpretation of bao, this was tender and saucy, with sharp pickles to cut through each bite. I did think that their was an uneven ratio of bao to other ingredients, which meant that we had quite a bit of meat left over after – at least one more bun would have been ideal so nothing was left to waste.
With our tummies stretching slightly, we tackled the final dish of our meal at Mr Miyagi’s – his signature MFC (Miyagi fried chicken) which comes it two sizes – we chose 6 pieces for $14.00. Dusted in secret house spices and served with kewpie mayonnaise, this was my kind of dish.
Succulent, steaming hot and coated in what I suspect is sweet potato flour before fried, it ticked the crunch and satisfaction boxes over and over again. The flavour reminded me of a Taiwanese style sweet potato flour breaded pork chop my mum makes that is one of my favourite things to eat ever, so this really pulled at the good old nostalgia strings.
After finishing our last bite of chicken, we were both pretty full but decided to walk it off and head down Chapel Street towards a new ice-cream place I’d heard of called Scroll. Our timing was just perfect, with our stomach’s settling after the delicious dinner at Mr Miyagi, and us beating a gigantic line by about five minutes.
Scroll is new to Melbourne, and something I don’t think will be far off for Perth. Inspired by ice-cream in Thailand, the liquid mixture is poured onto a freezing cold plate (under -20 degrees) to mix in any toppings or flavours (kind of like cold rock), then the icecream scrapped off into scrolls.
This extremely low temperature means that they’re able to create ice-cream that produces smaller ice molecules, making it naturally smoother and creamier, and eliminating the need to add in additional fat and emulsifiers to achieve it’s rich, creamy texture.
I’m pleased to say, their product is a creamy concoction that is light, and just frozen. It doesn’t just look great, it tastes delicious too!
For my flavour combo I chose the pavlova, so mine included fresh strawberries, passionfruit and crushed vanilla meringue. It was definitely on the sweet side, but I really enjoyed the refreshing flavours and the fun appeal of this style of dessert.
Richele opted for the banana, which was complete with pops of chocolate and happy Minion cookies nestled amongst the scrolls. The staff working all told us this was their favourite flavour, and I can see why (though I think I still loved the zestiness of mine more) – it was singing with banana flavour, and had just the right amount of decadence.
Ah Melbourne, you really are a city to fall in love with the food. What a fun night out with my girl, eating our way through her new home city.