Mikkio, born in Chile – to a Japanese father from Kyoto and a Chilean mother – is an audiovisual artist and Nikkei chef, and he’s revolutionized the “outsider” gastronomic scene of Barcelona.
Nikkei is the name given to Japanese emigrants and their descendants, and also what they call the gastronomy that was born from the fusion of Japanese immigrants’ cuisine with that of their receiving countries in South America.
For Mikkio, Nikkei isn’t a restaurant, but rather private sessions where he can get resources for his artistic projects and unleash their roots and traditions. Since he was young, he showed an interest in cooking; an art he understood as something to share with others. And so, three years ago, he decided to teach his gastronomy to small groups of people. Quickly, thanks to word of mouth, his culinary project took off – not only because people could try authentic Nikkei cuisine, but also because its exclusive and secretive nature made it one of the most attractive spaces in the city.
Upon entering, you can see Mikkio’s family – portraits of parents and grandparents – and books, as if it were a small tavern in Japan where you feel at home. He tells us that his grandfather was an amazing photographer and he honours him, hanging on the wall, with perfect portraits in black and white.
“The hot dishes I serve in the menu are homemade dishes of my family; popular cuisine. It’s every day food, what my mother served me at home when I was a child and what she serves me now when I go visit.” And, when dinner starts, you can see his inheritance on each plate, a mix of cultures, tastes and textures that make it original and unique.
There’s an incredible tasting menu that begins with kimchi pickled vegetables, followed by a delicious seafood soup with a mix of dashi, Catalan fish stock and Chilean broth. Next, a Katsudón – in this case, eggplant tempura -, marinated dogfish, artisan gyoza, Okinawa salad with strawberries, salmon nigiri and duck breast, a variety of sashimi and huramaki, monkfish ceviche, and to finish it all off, a delicious red bean ice cream.
While serving, he tells you about each dish, giving it the attention and value it deserves. He also has the help of Thais Goldsack in the kitchen, an Argentinean with German roots and a great cook.
If you want to know Nikkei cuisine, click here.
Text: Alba Yáñez
Photos: Cecilia Díaz Betz
Translation: Annie MacDonald