An Izakaya in Fukuoka inspired by the mandarin fruit and natural wines

Warayaki Mikan is in one of the oldest parts of Fukuoka – Haruyoshi. This place is currently the talk of the city, and when you get there, you won’t dispute that. The Haruyoshi area has been renowned for its drinking spirit and traditional Izakayas. Although Makin’s concept is not mainstream; for an Izakaya, it presents its dishes in a far more delicate form, sticks to local produce and offers an extensive selection of outstanding natural wines from all over the world.

Chef and owner Takurou Sueyasu was born in Kurume and worked in Kyoto before opening Mikan in Fukuoka three years ago. He says the name of his Izakaya accurately defines his concept. Mikan means mandarin; his view is that mandarins are delicious, not pricey in Japan and accessible by all, just like his Izakaya.

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Excitement is in the air, so we quickly order two glasses of natural whites, one Chardonnay from Georgia and a Vermentino from Sardinia. They both strike the perfect note, so we praise our host with his wine recommendation, great start! We place our orders and soak in the atmosphere. It seems that natural wine and glorious food has this place buzzing.

Chef Takurou likes to use the traditional art of “warayaki”- or straw roasted cooking to grill his seafood and meats lightly. With this technique he seals his ingredients perfectly, leaving a hint of smokiness in them.

Warayaki sashimi

We get our first order – Warayaki Sashimi! A great selection of local seafood is presented on a glowing local crafted ceramic plate. What better way to display the fantastic local fare of Kyushu. We loved the seafood, they all had a distinctly delicious flavour and some with a hint of smokiness from the warayaki technique.

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Kamo-no Houbayaki

Soon their signature dish makes its way – Kamo-no Houbayaki! Perfectly cooked duck breasts over a Houbayaki leave and sweet red miso. The meal is served on a little terracotta grill filled with hot charcoal to keep it warm.

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Warayaki Kinki

Our next dish arrives – Warayaki Kinki! Timing is in complete harmony with the food here. Just as the chef suggested, Kinki is a local fish, currently in season; has a delicate white flesh that’s sweet and tasty. Again the dish is perfectly cooked by the straw cooking method.

Uni Tsukudani

Suddenly our Uni Tsukudani drops in. Personally delivered by Chef Takurou. He confesses the uni is not local instead it has travelled all the way from Hokkaido. But it sure was tasty and creamy, just like uni should be. It was served with a dollop of nori-sukudani, all ready to be wrapped in nori sheets, delicious!

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We decided to pause, so we ordered another glass of natural white wine, this time it’s was a Slovenian blend, it was just what we needed to think back and wish we could start all over again.

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Myoga-no sorbet

We sensed our time here was almost over; dessert arrives, it’s a unique creation by Chef Takurou, a delicate sorbet made with one of my favorite vegetables in Japan – Myoga. Its ginger, and citrusy flavours take this sorbet out of this world!. And a perfect way to finish. Well not quite.

If you are lucky enough and ask politely, you can be treated to their off-menu dish, a small serving of spicy lamb curry, oiishii! All we could say from there was thank you for the amazing food experience, “gochiso sama deshita”!

Warayaki Mikan

Address: 2-6-10 Haruyoshi, Chuo-Ku, Fukuoka 810-0003, Fukuoka Prefecture
ph: +81 92-712-0388
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