I’m no food critic, but I figure I eat out enough to qualify as having a decent opinion on food. So I figure I may as well share some of my experiences here. Now, when it comes to Chinese, I’ll give anything go. So it happeened that Toby and I ended up wandering into Miso for lunch for the first time today. Just a stone’s throw away from work (well, if you have a particularly aerodynamic stone and a bloody strong arm) so it was perfectly placed for us.
Immediately upon walking in, the cleanliness is striking. Not to say that most Chinese places aren’t, but here the spacious layout and shiny surfaces all in right angles (yes, rectangular seats and benches) are striking. Discovering they do take-away as well, we opted for that to ensure we weren’t late back to the office. We were waiting no more than seven minutes for out Egg Fried Rice with Duck, and were pleased to note two bags of complimentary prawn crackers too.
Toby was moaning about not being able to use chopsticks, while I argued that you needed chopsticks to eat Chinese, and it turns out Miso cater for both our views. Their sealed cutlery packs contain a fork, a spoon, a set of chopsticks and a few toothpicks (which were subsequently used for a Reservoir Dogs’ Mr. Blonde look during the ensuing game of pool).
So what of the food itself. As I expected, the clean, modern look of the interior was very telling of the taste. The prawn crackers were unremarkable and rather plain. The rice was of a high quality as was the duck. The servings were large and they were surprisingly generous with the meat. The sauce was good and every bite of the duck tasted wonderful, but even so, the flavour was all a little subdued. It was almost a sort of basic, sterile, default Chinese taste, with very little creativity.
While I would certainly recommend the place for quality of food, I think really one needs to eat in the restaurant because the experience is very different to the average resataurant. Labelling themselves a “noodle bar”, Miso are as much about the experience as the food, and the stylishly sleek and spacious environment is a testament to this. Some people will be disappointed at their quiet efficiency, with none of the bustling clamour that is often expected. But for the modern conisseur, Miso may well represent, if not the future of the cuisine itself, the future of the Western Chinese culinary experience.