Japanese chef Takashi Miyazaki has signed a lease on the former Fenn's Quay restaurant in Cork and plans to open Ichigo Ichie there next March. The name of the restaurant means one meeting, one chance, or once in a lifetime.
The new restaurant, a sister establishment to his Miyazaki at Evergreen Street in the city, will offer a kaiseki or Japanese tasting menu of between eight and 12 courses, with a price point expected to be around €85 for the no-choice menu.
Ichigo Ichie will be a kappou restaurant, meaning that the cold dishes, including sushi and sashimi, will be created by the chef working at a counter in full view of the diners. This is the format followed at The Araki, a nine-seat restaurant in London where the set menu costs £300 a head. In October The Araki was awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide.
Miyazaki says the style of the restaurant will allow him “to explain dishes to the customers” and interaction with the chef will be part of the dining experience. There will be five seats at the counter and a further 22 at dining tables. Hot dishes will be cooked in the upstairs kitchen.
In Japan, kappou restaurant counters are traditionally constructed with cypress wood. According to Miyazaki this is because the distinctive smell cypress wood gives off compliments raw fish, and although he won't be using it for his counter, he hopes to mimic the effect by using cypress chopping boards.
Also in Cork, the Taiwanese/Korean bao bun craze has spread to the city, with the opening yesterday of Bao Boi by Bryan McCarthy. McCarthy is executive head chef at Greenes and Cask and will combine that role with his personal investment in Bao Boi.
“The concept of Bao Boi is an Asian-inspired fast food restaurant with a conscience. It’s a takeaway offering flavoursome, fresh, nutritious local food – in season and organic in so much as our growers can supply.”
The fillings for the bao are designed around local Cork ingredients, with the raw ingredients for the buttermilk chicken, featherblade beef and Wagyu beef varieties coming from Michael Twomey Butchers. There are pork belly, seafood and vegetarian choices too, and prices range from €4.50-€7.
“People were saying the food was so fresh and that they didn’t feel like they were eating fast food,” McCarthy said after his first day of soft opening. “People were really getting that it was local produce and bringing takeaway food to a completely different perspective as something healthy, better for you and better for the environment.”
The mainly takeaway outlet has seating for just eight diners, and once fully operational it will be open Tuesday to Sunday, 12.30pm-11pm. Soft opening hours continue into this weekend. On Saturday, it will open at 3pm and on Sunday at 1pm.
If all that talk of steaming, pillowy buns has left you longing for one, and you're staying in tonight, they're surprisingly easy to make. Here is a step-by-step guide to making bao, from head chef Duncan MacDonald of Bread and Bones, which specialises in bao, banh-mi and bone broth, and is at 7 Millennium Way in Dublin 1.