Ranelagh may be a foodie hot spot but its brightest culinary star shines down a narrow laneway tucked in between a few mews houses and business lock-ups off the main strip. Despite the obscure location, which has never enjoyed the benefits of passing trade, Michie Sushi serves up simply stunning Japanese food
The business began as a take-away service and, as word-of-mouth spread, expanded to accommodate demand with a tiny 17-seater restaurant that includes a small counter perfect for locals awaiting their take-out orders. Behind a low-key sliding door the décor is decidedly modest, just bright walls, hard surfaces and large canvasses, including the iconic Mount Fuji. It’s stripped back in a sort of Scandi-Japanese style with clean lines and simple, comfortable furnishings.
Everything at this Dublin restaurants served on pretty Japanese tableware, though nothing so elaborate that it detracts from the visual beauty of the food. Expertly rolled sushi, sashimi and maki are served individually or as attractive sharing platters (on elegant lacquer ware) for larger groups, with glistening tuna, salmon, sea bass, prawn, mackerel, crab and eel in peak condition.
Michie Sushi has built up a reputation for excellence and its specials menu highlights the skill and precision at work in this tiny premises. Signature dishes feature taste sensations like Fire Dragon roll, made with fresh eel, avocado, sushi rice and teriyaki rolled in piquant seven spices or Soft Shell Crab roll with whole soft shell crab, spring onion, flying fish roe and avocado.
There’s an interesting choice of cooked dishes too, all Japanese classics, like steamed edamame, perfectly rendered gyoza, filling bowls of yaki udon bursting with fresh flavours or dengaku, a sublime rendition of crispy, miso-glazed tofu and aubergine with silken interiors.
Lunch business is brisk with bento boxes (compartmentalised plates with a choice of meat or fish lightly stir-fried with slivers of courgette in a light soy dressing, traditional sticky rice, some salad and a couple of pieces of seaweed-rolled sushi with accompanying fiery wasabi and ginger) a favourite with Ranelagh locals. The little dining room fills up on weekend evenings, though it can lack atmosphere on quieter mid-week nights. Don’t let this deter you - the kitchen is busy six days a week dispatching orders of its sublime Japanese creations to the lucky denizens of south Dublin.
The vibe is that of a wonderful neighbourhood restaurant, where chatty, caring staff have real knowledge of the food and are delighted to offer advice and suggestions or simply replenish the complementary green tea. The choice of house red and white wine is great value, offered alongside house sake and Japanese beer, but there’s no tea or coffee available. They do however serve a limited dessert menu, perhaps a delicate green tea crème brulée or chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream.
While most Japanese places are still serving pre-made sushi to varying standards Michie Sushi has raised the bar, delivering the finest Japanese food in the country, made with real flair and talent. Dishes are well priced, though it’s easy to get carried away with lots of tempting side dishes. Everything is served as it’s ready, making for a fun and sociable dining experience. The low-key setting is neither grand nor formal, which is the whole point; why distract diners with frills when the real star of the show is the sublime and utterly exquisite food