Showing posts with label Japanese cuisine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japanese cuisine. Show all posts

Monday, April 1, 2019

Ninja Sushi Bento Can Brighten Up Your Day!

Ninja Sushi Bento Can Brighten Up Your Day!

There’s a new ninja in town, hanging out in Daunt’s Square (opposite the Roundy) since the start of the year.

They do sushi here, lots of it. Buy yourself a box, take it home or eat in-house (there are a few seats). They also do Hot Bento, again many choices including Japanese Beef Curry, Chicken Kara-age and Seafood Cha Han. Various ramens also and a selection of salads, even desserts (anyone for Dorayaki Green Tea Custard?)

I called in there at the weekend. Previously, manager Hilda McCarthy told me that the best time to come in is from 12-3, “because our sushi is fresh made on the day, once they are sold out they are gone!”.

The place is beautifully maintained, both inside and outside (where there are also a few seats. I was in at twelve on the dot and the display of sushi was eye-catching. I intended to bring mine home and eat it out in the garden with the sun shining so I was concentrating on the Bento. (A Bento by the way is the word for a decorated Japanese Lunch box).

If you’d rather make up your own selection, that is easily done because most of the elements and others pieces are sold individually. For instance, a Sushi rice ball with a slice of fish will cost between €1.00 and €1.35 and there are about 20 different ones available. Check out the menu for other choices including Hosomaki and Uramaki, also Futomaki and Temaki. There are also a few Sushi Wraps available.
With guidance from Hilda, I took a look at the Sushi Bentos. Six different sets were on offer, some small, some larger.  There is a very tempting Salmon Lover’s Set but I settled for the Hana Set where the main feature was the half dozen Sushi Nigiri (fish slices on rice balls). Much more in it as well as you can see from the photo. All for €12.00. Last week also they had an offer of two free healthy drinks with each Bento purchase. Vegetarian and vegan options also available.

It all went down very well in the garden, a delicious lunch. Extras such as toasted seeds, soya beans, wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce are all included in the price. And those free drinks, a blend of apple and pineapple juices, were gorgeous.

They open at noon every day, including Sunday, and closing time has been extended (from April 1st) to 9.00pm. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates and offers. And do call in; enjoy the food and the friendly and helpful service.

Ninja Sushi Bento
1 Grand Parade
021 241 1878

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Izakaya Evening with Echigo Saké at Ichigo Ichie

Izakaya Evening with Echigo Saké at Ichigo Ichie

Smashed cucumber with Bonito flake.

For one night this/last week, Michelin Star Chef Takashi Miyazaki turned his Ichigo Ichie restaurant into a Japanese style gastro-pub with a lot of help from Mr. Ono from the Echigo Saké Brewery in Japan. 

It was the first Izakaya evening here and a delightful experience that began with a glass, sorry, that should read masu, of Echigo Koshi No Happo. The Masu is a square wooden cup used to measure rice in Japan during the feudal period. It holds 180ml of that first saké so that was quite a substantial aperitif. Quite a lovely one also, smooth, almost savoury with a slightly syrupy texture giving it a rich mouthfeel.
First pour

There would be more sakés as the pleasant evening went on, with Mr Ono on hand to explain the various types. Perhaps the outstanding one from my point of view was the Ozeki Karatamba Honjozo Namachozoshu. Here, we were told that the brewing technology brings out the crisp and rich flavour yet dry taste of “Karatamba” that pairs well with any cuisine, indeed the prefect saké to indulge your taste buds. It certainly did that!

Of Japan’s major saké-producing regions, Niigata is regarded as the most prestigious and well-known. And deservedly so. Known long ago by the name Echigo, modern-day, Niigata is the region of small craft producers from the countryside. It is also the origin of the light and dry tanrei-karakuchi style of saké that has become so popular amongst saké lovers today. And we did indeed enjoy the Echigo Karakuchi, “a very hearty saké”.
Sashimi selection

At the end, we had a taste of the Amakuchi, the sweet saké. But not that sweet! From the delightful, if limited  (we didn’t have all night!), tasting, it seems that the dry to sweet range of the Japanese drink is much narrower than is the case with wine! Open to correction on this one.

And how did we get on with the square cup? The masu? Quite well actually. It stands on a saucer so, when  it is full to the brim, you can lift the saucer and sip, “not rude” says Mr Ono. Being Cork of course, there was one “complaint”: we couldn’t make those cups clink! Well, if you really want to get that cheerful sound, you may drink it from a short clear glass also!
Pork belly with bean sprout

The special Izakaya Menu was a multi-course treat. Hard to keep track of all the courses and Mr Miyazaki also added in a couple of bonuses. So, from the Smashed Cucumber at the start to the delicious pannacotta at the finish, we were more than well fed.

Highlights? Well those two already mentioned for a start. The Sashimi was an early highlight for me with salmon, tuna and sea-bass in the mix. The Prawn (a substitute for squid) and Padron Pepper Tempura was another as were the Chicken Tatsuta. And an unexpected one - it was additional to the 12-course menu - was the swordfish towards the end.

CL also enjoyed the meal from start to finish especially that little Smashed Cucumber at the start. The next dish, the Pork Belly, was another of her favourites along with the Sashimi. But all were appreciated.

Izakaya Menu

Peanuts Tofu (peanuts, wasabi)

Kyuri Tataki (smashed cucumber, bonito flake, crushed garlic chilli)

Chashu and Moyashi Namuru (pork belly, bean sprout, shichimi, sesame oil)

Sashimi (Corvina, Organic Salmon, Daikon, Shiso, Wasabi, dashi shoyu)

Yakitori (tsukune tare sansho and egg yolk sauce, pork belly)

Buta Shabu Salad (Pork, Mizuna, Silken Tofu, Radish, Sesame Ponzu)

Grilled Asparagus Yakidashi (asparagus in dashi, bonito flake, chilli)

Ika and Shishitou Tempura (squid and Padron Pepper). Ika (squid not available so we had prawns instead).

Chicken Tatsuta (Fried chicken thigh)

Satoimoni, Tori Soboro Sauce (Taro Potato stew with minced chicken sauce)

Tamago Maki (Egg Roll Sushi)

Amazake (White chocolate pannacotta, cherry)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Return to Miyazaki. Umami by the spoonful

Return to Miyazaki
Umami by the spoonful
Salmon sushi

Grabbed my opportunity to return to Miyazaki, Cork’s amazing Japanese Take Away, when in the Barrack Street area during the week. Open since March, it is located at the junction of Evergreen Street and Barrack Street.

Enjoyed a salmon dish during the previous visit so this time I picked something different: Miso Butter Tonkotsu Ramen (Miso Butter Tonkotsu, pork stock noodles with corn and chashu). And there was a little extra, a Nitamago simmered egg. Quite a special dish indeed, full of flavour and appropriately warm for a cold November day.

My pork
My bowl by the way was eat-in only so just as well we got in early and got a pair of the limited sit-down places! But most of the menu is available to take out.

Salmon features regularly on the menu here as indeed do pork, beef, and chicken. There is a regular menu and a Daily Specials board and you may check them out on their Facebook page, updated daily with all those lovely specials.

Seared salmon
They had a couple of salmon offerings up on the board in mid-week and CL chose the Seared Salmon with ikura, garlic chips, mixed seaweed and ponzu. This looked amazing, so inviting, and tasted so well.

We had started with a couple of bowls of soup, delicately delicious, umami by the spoonful! The one we got was: Bamboo shoot and Shimeji Mushroom soup. Go treat yourself.
As on the previous occasion, we bought something to take home for later on. There is so much to choose from here including Donburi (rice bowl dish with your choice of topping), Bento boxes, a variety of noodle dishes, salads, and Japanese Curry.
And sushi of course and we picked a lovely salmon box, attractive looking and all neatly wrapped in Nori seaweed! They are open Tuesday to Sunday: 13.00-16.00 and 17.00- 21.00, phone 4312716.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Miyazaki Japanese Take-Away. On the corner, a “treasure box”

Miyazaki Japanese Take-Away
On a Cork corner, a “treasure box”
The always busy Cork corner between Barrack Street and Evergreen Street has a new feature, a Japanese Take-Away called Miyazaki. It looks as if this corner will get even busier as top chef Takashi Miyazaki has opened up a “treasure box” of Japanese food. “I want people to enjoy the real flavours of Japan.”

The owner-chef is a native of Fukuoka in Japan and has over twenty years high level experience. The use of fresh local ingredients and Takashi's essential ingredient of dashi broth brings you a traditional Japanese cuisine known as “Itadakimasu”.  I was there last Friday and got lunch and supper for forty euro for the two of us.
The “treasure box” is just that, a small boxy place with room for just a handful of sit-down customers. You sit on stools near the a shelf along the window and watch the people come and go outside. But you don't do much watching really as your eyes and attention are on the flavours in the dish.

 We were there just as the doors opened at 1.00pm and got two of those precious high stools. We studied the menu and, of course, the specials board! As we waited, we were served with bowls of a lovely Miso Soup (with tofu, wakame seaweed and dashi), delicate and delicious.

Neither of us knows much about Japanese food so we were consciously or unconsciously looking for familiar words. And so it was that CL chose the Teriyaki Chicken Bento (grilled chicken, marinated with homemade teriyaki sauce). This was superb, a great balance between the flavours, the rice too playing a role here.

Chicken. Yes that's half an egg at top.
I went for the Salmon Zuke Donburi (fresh Atlantic salmon marinated in soy based sauce on steamed rice). This was served in a bowl with slices of marinated salmon and ikura (salmon roe) on top and a little dollop of wasabi. Lots going on here, the colour, the flavour, the amazing texture of the salmon all adding up to lunch-time perfection!

Lunch was over but the remarkable experience was to be soon continued. We had a look at the take-away section (this gets very busy in the evenings) and picked two items for sharing later on. The first was Nori Bento (Nori seaweed, breaded fish, fish cake with kimpira burdock). It looked a small enough container but there was certainly enough there as a shared starter. But never mind about the quantity, the quality (flavour and texture) was once again outstanding.
Yakiniku Bento
 And it just got better with the (Stir fried beef and vegetables with Miya’s yakiniku sauce). Once again an amazing mix of flavours and, of course, that lovely softish crunch that you get with stir-fried vegetables.

So if you want remarkable food from this amazing chef, head to Evergreen Street (just a few minutes from the English Market) and you’ll find Miyazaki’s doors open between 13.00 to 16.00 and 17.00 to 21.00 Tuesday to Sunday. Phone number is 021-4312716.

Find him on Facebook at and his Twitter is @miyazakicork  

Nori Bento