Whenever a new place to eat pops up in Stoke that isn’t a greasy spoon or a chain restaurant, I like to think that I’m one of the first metaphorically banging down their front door with my knife and fork ready for to give them a whirl. For some reason, I completely missed the launch of MISO Stoke way back in 2009 (where the hell have I been?) and ever since then it’s somewhere I’ve always been meaning to get around to going. You know how it is.
Ashamedly, the only Japanese food I’ve tried is pre packaged Sushi as part of a Boots meal deal or at the revolving carousel of colour, Yo Sushi. I have friends who swear by MISO as the place to eat in Stoke and I always wanted to head along with one of them so they could show me the ropes and I wasn’t ordering blind.
Opening at lunch time 11:30am til 2pm and again at 6pm for their dinner service, we were two of the first few through the door and lucky to bag ourselves a table considering we hadn’t booked a table. By the time our green and lemon tea refreshments had been served a few minutes later, the restaurant promptly began to fill up and by 6:30 they were actually having to turn customers away. Thank god we were eager and were welcomed in from the cold by the friendly staff to fill our bellies with rice.
Offering Buy One Get One Free on a selection of starters when buying any Bento Box, their Friday night special, it was time to lose my Bento Virginity under the watchful and guiding eye of Terri, a somewhat Japanese food enthusiast. Despite having reduced their menu recently, there was still a wide array of classic Japanese dishes on the menu and even daily offers to entice you through the door. Not that you’d need much enticing, the food was delicious.
A complete novice aside from the “try it & see” technique I adopt in Yo Sushi, I eventually settled on Gyoza and Pork Satay for starters and the Roast Pork Bento Box for main. For the unitiated (like me), Bento Boxes are single-portion meal containers commonly used in Japanese takeout and restaurants. MISO’s Bento consist of sushi, salad, sticky rice and a meat or fish dish of choice. The perfect size portion to feel contentedly full (& not fit to burst) the Roast Pork in sauce was cooked so tenderly that it fell apart in the mouth and although the sushi was simple, it was tasty and fresh.
In fact, the only downside to my meal was that I found I wasn’t content with just ordering the one main, I wanted to try the Teriyaki, Ramen and Katsu..
With blossom mural adorning the walls and accents of black and red, the decor of MISO is simple but authentic in style and the atmosphere and delicious food makes you feel like you’re a million miles away from London Road in the middle of Stoke. The best part of MISO? The price. For two courses and a drink we paid just over £14. Not bad at all for delicious food on a Friday evening. With 20% off Bento on a Tuesday, 2 courses for £10 on a Wednesday and £6 Curry on a Thursday I’m planning on heading back to take advantage of their aforementioned Daily Deals.