Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Friday, March 2, 2012

[Review] Musashi Noodles & Sushi Bar, Capel Street, Dublin 1

Mushashi is a newly opened Japanese noodle and sushi bar on Capel Street. It caught my eye a few weeks ago on a rainy and dismal night. As I walked past, the warm glow from the wooden interior made me long to be inside, warm and feasting on sushi. Regretfully, I had to walk on that night, but Mushashi had remained in the back of my head since then.

Roll on another Friday night on Capel Street, and we had just left the newly opened Black Sheep Pub, an establishment dedicated to craft beers on tap and from bottle. A sister pub to Against the Grain on Wexford St, the Black Sheep is still in the early stages, but it's absolutely brilliant to see new pubs opening, offering something different. After a few drinks, some food is always a good idea, and thus it was that we found ourselves opening the little door into Musashi.

The interior is simply and sleekly decorated with dark wooden floors, lighter wooden panelling and bamboo screens. There are loads of tables for two, which I think is great.  This means that the restaurant can easily cater for couples, or for bigger groups by pulling tables together. Little wooden stools, with an intriguing shoe shelf provide the seating, all topped with bright red cushions. There has been a lot of thought put into the interior of Musashi, which makes you actually feel like you might be in Japan (Disclaimer: this is imagination on my part, as I've never been to Japan. But now I know what it might feel like.)
Stitch and Bear - The sleek interior of Mushashi
The stylish interior of Musashi
Stitch and Bear - Cute little stools at Mushashi
Neat little stools
After being seated, we were presented with two cups of green tea (free) to sip on while we chose our food. We started with two sushi platters - Ume (sashimi or slices of raw fish) and Sakura (nigiri which is raw and cooked fish served on rice). They cost €12.00 and €7.00 respectively and were served on lovely bamboo boards with the usual pickled ginger and wasabi. Simplicity and precision really is the definition of good sushi, where the freshness of the fish and the sharpness of the chef's knife is put front and centre. There is nothing for bad sushi to hide behind. But sushi at Musashi has nothing to hide from. It was fresh and perfect. Special mention has to go the pickled ginger and wasabi which were above average.
Stitch and Bear - Sushi platters at Mushashi
Sashimi and nigiri sushi at Musashi
Himself decided to order two starters instead of a single main. A House Mix Tempura selection (€8.50) came served on a beautiful bamboo platter with the most perfectly cooked squid rings and crispy battered vegetables. The bamboo platter looked like a raft afloat on the table. A plate of Ebi Gyoza, or pork & chive fried dumplings (€5.95) were tasty and juicy, served with dipping sauce. 

Stitch and Bear - Mixed tempura at Mushashi
Mixed tempura at Musashi
I had chosen Teppan tuna teriyaki, which was served on a wonderful, heavy, earthenware plate. The organic nature of Japanese decor has always struck me as a beautiful contrast to their technology infatuated lives. The massive portion of tuna was seared to rare, as requested, and served atop a mix of stir-fried vegetables with rice on the side (€14.95). I would have liked more punch from the teriyaki sauce, as it was a touch bland, but to be honest, this is the worst criticism I have from this meal.
Stitch and Bear - Teriyaki tuna at Mushashi
Teppan tuna teriyaki
Mushashi didn't have any beer available on the night that we visited, but we were able to pop out to the local supermarket to purchase our own bottles. An opening charge of €3.00 was applied to cover the corkage on our alcohol. Service was efficient and lovely throughout, with the waitresses zipping about on the wooden floors with silent feet. The total bill came to €52.40 which I thought was pretty decent value. If you don't have a fetish for raw fish, you can leave the more expensive sushi out, resulting in an even more cost effective meal.

We didn't get to sample any noodles on this visit, but this omission serves to give us another reason to call again. In short, Musashi feels like the real deal. Things are definitely starting to get a lot cooler on the North side of the city.

Musashi Noodles & Sushi Bar, 15 Capel St, Dublin 1
Tel: +353 (0)1 532 8068
Musashi on Facebook Musashi Noodles and Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon


JJ5000 said...

This place looks really good. I'll have to check it out. Have you tried Mitsuba at all?

dudara said...

JJ5000 - Yes, I've eaten at Mitsuba. I'd say that it was about a year ago, soon after it opened. I didn't review it at the time, for some reason that I can't remember.

I do remember very good sushi (v. fresh) and lovely teppan dishes. At the time, the place was very busy.

fionasjapanesecooking said...

It's great that all these new Japanese restuarants are popping up around Dublin. I love cooking Japanese food at home so it's nice to see authentic Japanese food establishments popping up around the country. A new sushi bar opened up on the top of the Radisson Hotel in Galway also (RAW sushi in the sky).

Pageturners said...

It's very nice - my only criticism of the Japanese restaurants in Dublin is that they don't (as all restaurants, even the cheapest, in Japan do) offer you a clean, warm, damp facecloth to clean your hands before the meal.

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