In many ways, we’d be happy to spend a long time in Mr Miyagi’s, not to mention the adjacent Cobra Kai bar (which, full disclosure, we have propped up on more than one occasion since it opened). The atmosphere is never less than lively, the mood is relaxed and there are enough talking points among the décor to keep you nattering away even when faced with the most lacklustre of company.
It’s frustrating, then, that the whole experience feels a little too hurried, like it’s taking its rapid-fire street eats theme just slightly too much to heart. We’re warned, early doors, that our food will come “whenever it’s ready” and not in any particular order. We’re not here to single Miyagi’s out for this approach, because it’s certainly not alone – but has anyone doing it ever actually asked diners whether they prefer it? It’s not so much that we’re fussed about what food we eat first (especially when everything ordered is being shared across the table anyway), but without that structure the whole meal is all over much too quickly.
What’s enormously clear from the start, however, is that everything on the hugely varied menu is fresh and house-made, most obvious in the meaty Thai fish cakes, which land a real, authentic lemongrass punch. And though atypical, the panko crust too lends enjoyable bite.
But first to arrive is an order of chicken Singapore noodles, packed with vibrant, crunchy peppers and pak choi and boasting a perfect hit of white pepper and curry powder. At just Dhs59, it’s one of the best-value dishes of the night.
Elsewhere on the table, the Filipino tapsilog also impresses, with super-tender chunks of sweet, fragrant beef, and a perfectly soft, runny egg – but the rice isn’t crammed with the fistfuls of garlic those familiar with the dish might be hoping for.
Last to arrive, chicken lemongrass skewers (pictured, literally wrapped around sticks of the fragrant herb) are easily the most aesthetically pleasing dish of the evening, not to mention one we’ll go back for (even if our dining partner isn’t quite as won over by the fiery heat and squidgy texture – at least we won’t have to share).
From its inventive interiors to the lively Thursday night atmosphere, Miyagi’s has hit a lot of highs since opening. With a little fine-tuning, there’s room for the dining experience to match up to them.
The Bill (for two) 1x prawn crackers Dhs19 1x Mr Miyagi's fishcakes Dhs39 1x chicken lemongrass skewers Dhs45 1x tap si log Dhs99 1x chicken Singapore noodles Dhs59 Total (excluding service) Dhs261
The bottom line Funky and well-priced, it’s almost there.