Restaurant Miyabi-Japanese cuisine in Sofia, Bulgaria
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Everybody in Bulgaria knows Chef Mihalchev, the famous star from MasterChef TV show. To the great joy of Sofia citizens, we are privileged and can enjoy the Japanese dishes created by him in his restaurant Miyabi.
I have already written about Miyabi or in particular about the food deliveries they have been making during the big Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 in Gourmet @home- Part 4, food deliveries in Sofia from Miyabi and Cosmos.
Now I am happy to return to their scene, where their Asian cuisine is created.
… .The place is very small, off the beaten paths of the crowded city, in a bezisten of a business building. Below is a map with the exact location and address.
…. As soon as you enter, you understand the influence of Japanese culture in the interior of the room – a huge copper kettle, copper heating vessels, fans, in one place there was a Pikachu doll, teddy bears, boxes of sticks and frequently used soy sauce, rice vinegar, spicy additives;
…. Open kitchen, the whole team of chefs is on display, as well as the mystery of their work. If you are very curious, you can borrow some cooking ideas and techniques 😊;
…. Somehow, in dissonance with the expectations of masterchef cooking, the menu seems to denominate the qualities of the food that followed. The proposals for the season were printed on some flying sheets, of thick paper, but rather carelessly. The photos were blurred, some of the explanations to them were on another page, the clip that holds the sheets together hides the info printed at the top. One of the suggestions was missing from my menu. One of the poorly focused photos lacked information. It turned out that it was an eel dish, a favorite of our whole family, and we were very sorry that we missed the opportunity to try it, due to the poor quality of the information presentation. I would take down 2 hearts because of such a lack of respect for the food of the chefs, but only 1 will be dropped.
When the menu looks unsightly and confusing, the customer is set to expect the same in the food. The effect is that even if there is perfect food on the plates, it will not be taken seriously enough.
…. Too dim light in the room. This is an element in the room that I always pay attention to. The lack of enough light also takes away from the good presentation of the dishes. Whole nuances, not to mention contrasts, are hidden in this way.
Too dim light in the restaurant takes away from the quality of the visual perception of food, leaves customers with the impression that something is hidden in the room from their view and deprives them to take quality photos to post on social networks. The latter is not to be underestimated, because it is free advertising for aby place. Even now there is a trend for restaurants to make spots where customers can take pictures for Instagram.
One heart dropped out because of this shortcoming.
…. The girl who served us was very kind and responsive. Her smile was visible, despite the tightly fitting face mask. Sometimes she delayed things like bringing us water, even though there weren’t many people in the place, but because she was very nice to all of us, we didn’t get angry with her at all. She answered all our questions adequately;
…. The lack of explanation of the food when served is a big minus for a restaurant of this rank. Although there are no visible features of fine dining restaurant, it is a high-level food. Besides, most details of Japanese cuisine are not known to Bulgarian customers and deserve due attention and explanation. If the waiters are trained when serving the food to tell in brief about it, about the products that are used, the method of preparation, etc., it would be very useful and will raise the reputation of the restaurant.
Neglecting such an important detail as the presentation of food when served, deprives the customer of the educational element, an important feature for good establishments, that can easily be an example of Joseph Pine’s and James Gilmore’s Experience Economy, but not essential for the general customer experience.
…. The sushi comes out quite slowly, but it was worth the waiting because it was superb.
…. Too low tables and chairs – not very comfortable for tall people. There is no chance to stay longer with your knees protruding and your abdomen pressed, the position you inevitably take without wanting to. The food is very tasty, but at one point, when your stomach is pressed, you are forced to stop eating. This is very good on the one hand, but on the other hand, if you are a hedonist like me and want to try many things, this becomes a big challenge. One heart fell here too;
…. The biggest problem we encountered was serving too hot food. In particular, it is about the ramen, which my daughter adores, but this time she could not eat, but only tasted the upper, easier to cool layer. I personally got burned with the crunchy fried Saint-Jacques, and I couldn’t feel the taste as a result. Hopefully I first tried the egg tartar and tobiko caviar on top separately to find out how tasty and well-made it is. Two hearts fall off because of my daughter’s and my injured mouths.
In my article from the new 5D Sensograph section, The sense of touch and its role in gourmet- Part 2, I explain that the taste cells in our mouth are like those on the skin that respond to touch. As a result, when you burn yourself, you feel pain. Apart from the fact that after such incident you can hardly feel any tastes.
…. Jazz arrangement of Christmas carols. Although it was still November, the Christmas motif came to us a little early, but it was by no means unpleasant. What’s bad was that 4-5 pieces rotated on a loop. Others may not have noticed, but for people with a sharper hearing and affinity for music, it becomes annoying at some point. Half a heart is lost for neglecting the musical background.
Movie watching time: 2:07 min.
…. Very fragrant kimchi. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the smell of the typical Asian pickled cabbage, although some people think it’s strong and intrusiv;
…. The slightly astringent aroma of the heated sake – pleasant and transferring to the exotic eastern latitudes.
…. Green tea in the desserts, which I mention below, in the Tastes category, because they deserve special attention;
…. The smell of your clothes after you leave the restaurant.Unfortunately, open kitchens require special attention to the ventilation of the room, and this is another complex topic, especially in view of the comfort of customers. Half a heart fell into this category because this detail was not considered enough.
…. Personally, I did not like the smell of curry sauce to pork tonkatsu. I can’t tell exactly what was wrong, but it reminded me more of a veggie bag than the authentic curry I’m used to try in the East. Because it is a personal feeling, no hearts are taken away!
…. Salad with eel, omelet and two types of seaweed, cucumber and avocado, served in rolls, as sushi, but without rice. Very well balanced, great aromas and flavors, fresh ingredients with an element of crunchiness;
…. The sushi was great, much better than anything else available in restaurants. The rice was perfectly cooked, neither disintegrated nor too sticky. My younger daughter ordered twice from her choice.
… The beef tongue was delicious, the pork katsu, as expected crispy and tender under the crust, the gyoza was superb, and my eldest daughter really liked the shrimp tempura.
…. There was one drawback- some of the things were quite salty. It doesn’t bother us much because we tolerate salt, but still, not everyone will like it.
…. I was most impressed by the desserts. There the mastery was at its highest. I can write a separate post about them. I warn you that I am biased towards everything that is made with green tea.
One was a roll of macha tea and mascarpone cream, accompanied by vanilla ice cream. Wonderful aroma, super smooth texture and density of the cream. Divine!
The second was a classic example of working with textures and contrasts, as I described it in The sense of touch and its role in gourmet- Part 2.
Imagine a scoop of green tea ice cream on the coolest marshmallow couch sprinkled with something like meringue crumbs made from sugar, egg whites and soda. The latter is a magical thing that, in addition to being pleasantly sweet, that upon a very slight gnashing of teeth crushes into fine small crumbs, which melt instantly in your mouth. It contrasted perfectly with the slightly chewy and caramelized marshmallow base. The ice cream was not very sweet, but enough and due to its lower temperature and slightly astringent aroma of green tea, it perfectly balanced the expressive tastes and textures of marshmallows and sprinkles.
Well done to the creator and performer of these desserts!
It is difficult to maintain this type of exotic cuisine in the already crowded Sofia market with all kinds of restaurants and it is very rare to come across a place to try such interesting and skillfully executed Asian dishes. However, the overall impression of the customer does not depend only on the food in the restaurant. If only the meals are good, and everything else is neglected, there is no way for customers to be left with great impressions from their visit. Unfortunately, this is exactly the case with Miyabi. Let’s hope that after the turmoil in the hospitality industry due to Covid pandemic, the restaurant will recover and demonstrate the class that chef Mihalchev has.
How to get to restaurant Miyabi?
Don’t worry about getting to restaurant Miyabi in Sofia. Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pin of its location and then select directions:
A: 5 “Stara planina” str, 1000 Sofia Center, Sofia
T: +359 88 727 5064
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12:00-22:30
If you need to rent a car, you can book it here in the box of the largest booking platform.
Where to stay if you are not from the city?
If you are not from Sofia and you are already planning a visit to the city, I recommend that you book your stay right here. For your convenience, I have added a booking.com box, which refers directly to their site. I guarantee you’re going to use all your genius discounts and privileges they would offer to you. Just enter the dates of your trip, then hit the Search button and voila. In addition, booking.com are doing their best to make sure that your expectations as a customer are fulfilled. I’ve described an example about the latter in my story about our stay in Shangri-La hotel in Singapore .
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Do you ever wonder how some places differ so much from others in service, environment, as an overall experience? This means you are also interested like me in the topic of The Experience Economy by Pine and Gilmore. I constantly add to my collection reviews about those of them, which practice its principles, regardless of intentionally or accidentally. If you are curious to understand which are they, explore category The Experience Economy.