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Table: Miku

For a special night out and celebratory birthday, Anata decided to take me to Miku. He'd previously been there and thought that I'd enjoy it, so off we went. The restaurant is located down by Canada Place and is very accessible via Skytrain - simply get off at Waterfront and take the exit towards Howe, and if you walk forwards the restaurant is up a flight of stairs to your right.

The location is apparently recent, about 6 months old. Previously they were located on Hastings. The outside is quite simply done with just a plain door with the lit sign, and a welcoming carpet.

Inside is a bit of a different story, with the interesting fish designs and water theme on the ceiling. Above the bar area is a construction that looks like it's imitating ripples in the water, and the large fish murals that swim around on the sides.

Also in the entrance is the alcohol enclosure which shows off their collection - so many racks of wine! Hahaha. It's a very impressive and neat display.

We were seated by the window with a view of the convention centre and water. I think I probably would have enjoyed either the seat during the day, or a booth more. The seat itself was not bad, but the section of the restaurant was kind of dim and made for bad photography :( The booths had more lighting, which made sense since strong lighting by the window would have impeded on the night scenery.

The view was okay, but my camera is unfortunately unable to do it justice. But it was clear to the North Shore :)

We decided on the Omakase, and since we didn't plan this ahead of time we could only go for the 6 course option since otherwise the kitchen required 3 day's notice. In preparation for the sashimi opening course we were served a sauce dish with both light and dark soy sauces. They were pretty standard soy sauces, and my personal preference is the dark soy as I find it enhances and brings out depth of flavour to foods. However, admittedly, the lighter one is a good complement to more delicate flavours.

The sashimi arrived with three different types of fish - a maguro (tuna), hamachi (yellowtail), and sockeye salmon. They were served on accompanying beds of seaweed, shiso leaf and shredded turnip, and shredded onion-capsicum-turnip respectively. The order I ate them in was hamachi, salmon, and tuna to finish, which I think worked out pretty well. The hamachi is pretty delicate next to the tuna's flavouring, and the salmon is kind of in between. However, for this bunch, I think the salmon was kind of lacking in the flavour department and I didn't really get that full "salmon" flavour from the sashimi. I think it was because it was a really lean piece comparatively and thus there was less fat to give the fish flavour.

Our teapot, which was very cute and tiny. We ordered green tea, though they also offer Jasmine.

The next course was an appetiser sampler with a tofu salad, oyster, prawn cocktail, and chicken namban (karaage).

The salad was very "asian-salad" flavoured as it had a sesame vinaigrette base. It came topped with crispy wontons which gave it a really nice crunch and added texture. What I found interesting with the salad was how the tofu was crumbled into it the same way you'd find feta or goat cheese crumbled into a salad. The flavours were strong and bold, with the nutty and earthy sesame and tofu and sharp tang of the vinaigrette backing.

Moving on in the box, there were two oysters that were placed on a bed of shiso leaf and seaweed. There were also two sauce infusions with the oysters. The top one was some kind of rosemary onion vinegar dressing, and the second one was a chimichurri sauce. I really liked the rosemary because it really elevated and kind of danced with the lightness of the oyster without overwhelming it. I don't know what kind of oysters were served, but they were pretty delicate in flavour, so the sauce infusions were very balanced and reflected that. The chimichurri was delicious, but I thought the rosemary flavour had a bit more zing to it.

Their prawn cocktail consisted of one very jumbo-sized prawn with some cocktail sauce on it. The prawn was cooked well, and the cocktail sauce a natural complement. As for the size, well, it's pretty impressive for what you'd find here, but still scrawny compared to some huge river prawn I've eaten in Malaysia! Those things are practically mammoth... I have some photos from past trips but one day I'll take Anata on a food eating bonanza and show him what those river prawns are like, hehe.

The chicken namban was nice in that the nuggets were very dense with breast meat and were seasoned well. However, I wasn't too fond of how they were slathered with mayonnaise. They were accompanied by a picked coleslaw that was tasty, but I think the strong use of mayonnaise detracted from this dish.

Our next course was the miso sablefish. It came on a bed of broccolini and a piece of eggplant. Personally I wasn't very impressed with the way the fish was handled, and I found it overly seasoned. The cookery on the fish seemed okay, as it flaked nicely and the meat was still tender with some texture to it, and the skin was very nice and crisp. However, I thought it wasn't reflective of the sweetness and delicacy I would normally associate with this type of fish. The oiliness made it really heavy for some reason, and it kind of tasted like some kind of animal fat was what was making it that way. Though I was disappointed with the fish (Anata thought it was okay, so I gave him the rest of my fish), I really enjoyed the way the eggplant was cooked. I ate Anata's eggplant as well since he doesn't like it. The eggplant was cooked perfectly - retaining texture and juiciness without being mushy. The miso really added depth and made it "meaty" and savoury.

Our next course was the steak that came with mushroom, carrot, asparagus, and mashed potatoes. The seasoning of the steak was good, and I liked the way the carrot was done. The rest of the vegetables were done well but not spectacular. The potatoes had some herbs that added lightness and a bit of brightness to the plate. Regarding the steak, the jus went a long way towards helping with the juiciness and flavour of the steak. I think what probably happened was that it wasn't rested for long enough before someone cut the steak into strips, because though there was a nice initial flavour in the first bite, by the time I got a couple chews in I could tell the dryness of the meat. Aside from that, it was a good medium rare and seasoned well.

Our last savoury course was the sushi plate. From left to right is hamachi, shrimp, bluefin tuna, crab roll with tuna, and aburi salmon.

For this one Anata and I worked our way from right to left. The sear of the fat on the aburi was magnificent and the oils had so much flavour. They actually had a layer of salmon pressed in the rice so it was almost like a double decker piece.

The roll was okay, but I didn't get much flavours except for the crab. It was really nice that they had real crab meat in the roll, but at the same time that was the only flavour that came through, despite the other components of the roll.

The bluefin tuna was so smooth, rich, and the oils packed a real punch. I think this one was probably the star of the plate. Strong, bold, and delicious.

The shrimp came with some kind of garlic butter on top which really added flavour and made for a yummy combination.

Lastly, we ate the hamachi which came with a light pesto on top. They complimented each other very well and the pepper helped to bring out the sweetness of the fish.

Our dessert was a chardonnay cream with raspberry sorbet. On the plate were raspberry and mango sauces, raspberry, mango, and blueberry pieces, and a sugar piece.

I thought the sugar work was very nice and impressive as the piece was very thin and embossed with an attractive pattern. Anata likened the taste to cotton candy, which makes sense since cotton candy is essentially spun sugar. The sorbet arrived on a crunchy kind of granola-esque sand, and it was very tangy and bright in flavour. The chardonnay cream was richer and less fluffy than I thought it would be. The texture was similar to a marshmallow whip with less density, and the taste kind of balanced the brightness of the sorbet. I'm not sure of how "chardonnay"-like it was in terms of flavour, but it didn't taste like alcohol at all. Anata said it was a little weird, but in a good way.

We also threw in an order of the green tea opera cake since it's a favourite of Anata's. It came with green tea ice cream on the side. On the plate were more raspberry and mango coulis dots, with an attractive green tea swirl on the plate. The ice cream came on the granola sand and was topped with another piece of sugar work. The cake itself had raspberry, blueberry, and mango bits as well as a shard of white chocolate that had a green transfer pattern.

The opera was rich, earthy, not too sweet, and was packed with many different textures. I really like the crunchy praline layers and I'm a fan of the green tea flavour. The mango coulis matched so well with the ice cream!

Overall a really yummy experience, and the service was friendly and efficient. It's a nice place for special occasions but I think the price of the menu makes it impractical for regular visits.

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