Review: The most exciting new restaurant in Ireland

Ichigo Ichie is a reminder of how magic food can be in the hands of a dreamer

You may have seen a Japanese man picking cherry blossom in Douglas on a Sunday morning in March. Takashi Miyazaki was gathering a garnish. He spread the white blossoms out to dry with a little salt, and now they’re in a jar in his new restaurant, Ichigo Ichie, in Cork city. Scraps of yearned-for spring transformed to a taste of its slipping past. It’s thereness and goneness all at once.

Being in the moment is the thing here. Mirrored glass in the window and charcoal paint have cloaked it in anonymity from the outside. You step out of rush hour and into somewhere unrecognisable as the former Fenn’s Quay restaurant. The matt black continues inside, giving it a theatrical feel, so unadorned you could be walking through a magazine page, with all the clutter, kids, pets and coats shoved in the car for the photo shoot.

There are small, well-spaced tables, but I’m heading for a stool at the chef’s counter, the last (and slightly late) arrival for one of the five seats. It’s all more relaxed than it sounds. No one’s wearing a suit or looks over 35 (although the lighting is kindness itself). The zing to all this Zen will be on the plates.

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