CORK

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | EATING OUT -

Miyazaki

1A Ev­er­green Street, Cork 021-431-2716 face­book.com/miyaza­ki­cork ¤¤ On a re­cent trip to Cork City, I ask a taxi driver about the Miyazaki Ja­panese Take-Away. Has he ever eaten there? “Ab­so­lutely,” he says with that de­light­fully dis­tinc­tive Cork lilt. “The noo­dle soup is mag­nif­i­cent. You know, the chef there cooked for pres­i­dents and celebri­ties back in Ja­pan.” He pauses, as he turns a cor­ner, and then asks, “I won­der why he moved to Cork?”

Takashi Miyazaki is the chef in ques­tion. He comes from the Fukuoaka Per­fec­ture in Kyushu in south­west Ja­pan. Be­fore mov­ing to Ire­land with his wife and busi­ness part­ner Stephanie while she fin­ished her stud­ies on our emer­ald isle, he worked in the five-star Ho­tel Nikko Fukuoka in his home­town as a Tep­penyaki chef. It was here that he cooked for a di­verse range of pa­trons that in­cluded Pres­i­dent Jacque Chirac, Rod Ste­wart and Sting.

Af­ter three years, re­spec­tively work­ing and study­ing in Of­faly, Takashi and Stephanie set­tled in Cork, look­ing to open a restau­rant serv­ing real Ja­panese food. “We set­tled here be­cause it has a fan­tas­tic food cul­ture, and great qual­ity land and sea pro­duce,” Takashi tells me. They found the space they were look­ing for on Ev­er­green Street, open­ing Miyazaki in March 2015.

John and Sally McKenna of The McKen­nas’ Guides are big fans, nam­ing Miyazaki their Chef of the Year in their Restau­rant Awards for 2015. The re­spect is ob­vi­ously mu­tual; I spy a copy of Sally McKenna’s ex­cel­lent sea­weed book Ex­treme Greens next to some Ja­panese food mag­a­zines on the slen­der counter, des­ig­nated for peo­ple who want to eat-in rather than take away. The Bea­tles are play­ing on the stereo, which re­minds me of Haruki Mu­rakami’s beau­ti­ful novel Nor­we­gian Wood as I pull up one of the six stools in this snug spot to ab­sorb Miyazaki’s al­lur­ing bowl of noo­dle soup. Be­hind me, through the kitchen pass, I can see Takashi work­ing qui­etly and steadily.

There are sushi rolls, bento boxes, cur­ries and don­buri (rice bowls) on the menu but I’m here for the noo­dle soup. I go for the daily spe­cial, Takashi’s Lemon Ra­men (¤13), a clear, deeply flavoured broth served with silky noo­dles and hunks of slow-cooked beef ribs so ten­der that I can eas­ily pull them apart with my chop­sticks. It’s truly heav­enly. It’s hard for me to put into words how del­i­cate and ac­com­plished this soup is. It’s the type of com­fort­ing per­fec­tion that I’ve been chas­ing in my own kitchen at home, to serve up a nour­ish­ing broth that soothes all that ails my loved ones and I.

A Kaki­age noo­dle soup (¤9.50) is no less star­tling in its in­tegrity. Heaped on top of the dashi broth is the spe­cialty this soup is named af­ter; strips of finely chopped veg­eta­bles and shrimp, siz­zled un­til crisp in a tem­pura bat­ter. Our noo­dle soups, and a cup of Ja­panese Green Tea (¤1.80), brought our bill to a to­tal of ¤24.30.

Miyazaki’s noo­dle soups are built around a dashi broth, a type of stock typ­i­cally made from Kombu sea­weed, and you can choose be­tween Udon or the thin­ner Soba noo­dles. Takashi tells me that ev­ery chef in Ja­pan has their own spe­cial recipe, and that the type of dashi you use de­pends on the dish.

“To get the syn­ergy of umami,” he ex­plains, “I keep a bal­ance of glu­tamic acid from the kombu, in­osinic acid from the bonito flake and guanylic acid from in­gre­di­ents like mush­rooms. This is the sig­na­ture taste of my dashi.”

Takashi says he is on the look­out for a restau­rant premises to open a ‘Kaiseki Iza­kaya’ but he has no plans of mov­ing on from his hum­ble take­away.

“I will keep Miyazaki Ja­panese Take-Away as the ori­gin of the Miyazaki soul,” he says, which is good news for the hap­pi­ness of the souls who eat there.

Iyer’s Café

38 Pope’s Quay, Cork face­book.com/iy­er­scafe I’m sup­ping on a Mango Misty (¤3), a ve­gan ver­sion of the more com­mon milky lassi, made with co­conut milk. It’s just as de­li­ciously thick and cool­ing as the reg­u­lar Mango Lassi (¤2). On the stereo is In­dian folk set to a beat, and bunches of dried chillis hang on the walls. I’m in Cork city, in Iyer’s Café.

Chef Gau­tham Iyer opened Iyer’s Café three years ago. His food, cooked with Ayurvedic prin­ci­ples in mind, is an un­der­stated cel­e­bra­tion of the food from Iyer’s home­land of Tamil Nadu, the south-east­ern state of In­dia.

This lovely cook­ing is housed

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