When I booked Miki’s Open Kitchen, I didn’t really know what to expect as I hadn’t heard anything about it before. I assumed that it might be a Japanese Teppenyaki bar, or something similar.
The restaurant do two evening sittings, and we were booked into the 8:30 sitting. Beforehand we let them know our dietary requirements (no meat, no dairy), which they were happy to accommodate.
It’s set back a bit, on the Bussell Highway, in amongst the main Margaret River town shopping strip. As we walked in, we noticed that there were tables around the room and some seating around the kitchen. It wasn’t a teppenyaki bar, but as the name states, an open kitchen where you can see the team cooking and preparing your food.
Menu’s are degustation style, with the choice of Miki’s Trust, Miki’s Complete, Hanami (sake discovery), and a children’s degustation menu. You can also choose wine matching with Miki’s Trust or Miki’s Complete, and they are all similar prices.
We decided to go for the Miki’s Trust without wine matching (as we didn’t fancy too much alcohol on this occasion), but we did choose a glass of WA Great Southern chardonnay to start. This was crisp and apple-y, but softened as it came to room temperature – a very nice local drop.
Our first course – the Amuse – consisted of wasabi Nannup pear, tempura vegan halloumi, and pumpkin and roast sesame soup. Every element was superb and we knew that we had chosen a good venue to dine.
Next came the cold entree: umami cured kabu (turnip), shira ae Geraldton kingfish, kimpira kohlrabi, and cuttlefish with grated daikon. Again all four elements tasted amazing – the kingfish was the best of the quartet, but that’s not taking anything away from the superb flavours of the other three. Kohlrabi was a delight, a vegetable that I don’t have very often.
The warm entree consisted of tempura – fillets of King George whiting, ajishio (flavoured pepper), Albany celeriac, ume (plum sauce), and Abrolhos Island scallop. I love scallop and this did not disappoint, beautifully soft and delicate, but the King George whiting was amazing, fresh and flavoursome – a third plate of sublime food.
For the main we chose the Kalbarri goldband snapper with surinagashi (a seasonal vegetable soup) and saltbush (lovely Aussie herb). Again, a marvellously well executed dish.
When the waitress asked if we wanted to try Miki’s creation as an additional dish, we simply couldn’t refuse. The opportunity to have another amazing dish just couldn’t be turned down. The dish was miso cured scallop with rice and fermented and pickled daikon. The scallops, as ever were superb, but that little disc of daikon took the dish to another level.
The last hot dish (known as shime in Japan) was a ramen broth with charcoal noodles and nori. Our non-meat version had some aburi salmon on top. Ramen is Miki’s favourite dish ever, but also notoriously difficult to perfect, and during the lockdown, he put it on the menu as a now-or-never option. The ramen was a roaring success and helped to get the restaurant through the lockdown crisis. It’s easy to see why. The whole dish was perfectly executed and tasted like no ramen I have ever tasted before – umami and then some.
Dessert consisted of yuzu rice pudding, rhubarb and sake compote, and soba no mi (buckwheat). It was warm and delicious. I tasted each element individually before mixing them all together to get the multi-level effect.
Miki is somebody who clearly cares very deeply about the food he serves, and with his team, he made this a meal that I will be talking about for years to come. Everything was perfection. If you don’t go anywhere else in Margaret River, make Miki’s your ‘must do’ restaurant.
Last visit date – July 2020