Friday, February 01, 2008

Mimigar, Gallery Hotel

Aside from being the name of this Okinawan restaurant, Mimigar (1 Nanson Road, #01-08 Gallery Hotel, tel : 6235 1511) also refers to pig's ears which happens to be one of the specialty of the restaurant. Okinawan cuisine as I have learnt lately appears to share similarity in style or influence to Chinese/Taiwanese food. There seemed quite a bit of stir frying involved in the dishes. Pork apparently is widely used and considered to be an important ingredient. Interestingly, seafood here seemed to be much less visible then in other Japanese restaurants. More interestingly, Okinawan cuisine also features taco rice which is something that would be more associated with Mexican. Tomato salsa, melted cheese and shredded lettuce over rice. Those taco rice here comes in the regular variety and also a chef's special which includes curry.

Ambience was nice. Along with its location, it would seem to suggest that the restaurant would be rather pricey, but that is apparently not so true. That being said, the bill does add up since the servings work pretty much like Chinese food in smaller portions. Not to neglect the mention that this place charges for their otoshi which consisted of some simmered vegetable, pickled vegetables and a fried potato ball without any indication of so by the serving staff nor the menu. Considering that most of the dishes are priced less than the otoshi itself, I thought it was quite expensive at $10 per person.
mimigar with peanut paste
The mimigar was something that might be of an acquired taste. The dish was essentially the skin from the pig's ears along with cartilage. The texture was both chewy and crunchy and thinking of pig's ears as you eat them probably doesn't help enjoy it. Especially for first times like mself. Apart from the texture, there wasn't much else to the flavour beyond the creamy peanut paste coating them. Interesting as it might be (it doesn't taste too bad), I'm probably in no hurry to order these again.
umi budou
These umi budou are also known as sea grapes. I hadn't the faintest idea what sea grapes where until the proprietress/chef explained that they had texture akin to tobiko but was actually an aquatic plant from the sea. These pretty jade colored globules did look much like flying fish roe. The taste was however akin to a very, and I do mean very, mild flavoured seaweed. Bursts in the mouth. They were served with ponzu which really made them very appetizing.
I was quite impressed with the rafute which was basically simmered pork belly. These are served hot in a sweet sory broth and fat that disintegrated in your mouth. The great thing about the pork belly was that it stayed soft even after the dish got cold and tasted still as good. I'll be sure to get more of these if I come back to this place.
The rayu-ae was actually an appetizer, the first of it's kind I've had and I enjoyed it a lot. There were cubes of maguro, cream cheese and shredded leek tossed in what is described on the menu as Ishigaki Island special chilli oil which surprisingly very fragrant stuff. What impressed me about this dish was that the curry-ish chilli oil harmonized in flavour with the tuna and cream cheese. Very mouth watering.
hirayahci with curry and cheese
These hirayahcis are some sort of Japanese pancakes. The curry and cheese flavor didn't quite turn out the way I imagined it to be as there was little cheese in the pancake. The curry had the spice, but not the edge from any heat. The menu mentioned daikon which I could neither see nor taste. It was supposed to be served with a citrus sauce which didn't arrive with the dish. Instead, there were bits of minced meat (I think it was beef) and the pancake reminded me in a good way of murtabak. This was actually quite good. Comfort food that I was happily stuffing my face almost non-stop.
The pork innards soup was something that us in this part of the world would be quite accustomed to in the Chinese form of the dish. The main difference of this nakam-jiru was that the dominant flavour was mushroom rather than the other pork innards. I was tempted to ask for pepper for this one. Not because it tasted bad. I guess it's just a reaction to pork innards soup which I think rocks with healthy dose of pepper.
macha baravoi
I was initially a little apprehensive of this dessert because green tea and macha based desserts are everywhere. The taste has become a diluted replica of a flavour profile with little depth and originality for the most part. Fortunately this green tea mousse of theirs was retained a good amount of the green tea fragrance. I enjoyed this one.

On the whole, the food at Mimigar was unexpected but also pleasant. I liked this place enough to think of returning to try more of their food some time in the future.


ice said...

cool place. how much was the meal per pax?

LiquidShaDow said...

It's a bit tricky to explain.

The total bill was about $144 for 2 after tax and service. That meant that the cost before is about $123

$20 went to the otoshi. $18 went to 2 glasses of Asahi.

So what you see is about $85 worth for 2 persons before tax.

ice said...

thanx. $45 per pax is quite a steal although i can't quite fathom paying the $10 otoshi though.

oh do u happen to know if they are open for lunch? ST just ran an article on them yest.

LiquidShaDow said...

I don't know if there is an option for not having the otoshi though. I'll probably try asking that if I go back there again.

I'm not sure if they are open for lunch, but I suspect not. I could be wrong about that though. I tried calling a few times for reservations throughout the afternoon and no one picked up the phone until it was about 4 or 5. So I do not know if they were busy and couldn't attend to the phone or it's simply just that no one is in yet. Wine & Dine did mention that they only do dinners for the time being.