Oh boy, have I been looking forward to this one.
Mr Miyagi’s has been top of the charts in recent weeks for influencer/food reviewer invites. I think every single person I’ve come across in the industry (other than myself) has been there in the last month and I’ve heard mixed things – mainly average food, but good vibes!
After an enjoyable brunch at qwerty, I thought it would be a great time to check it out for the first time – so the wife and I headed up to see what the fuss is about. I’ve seen marketing material alluding to an Asian street-food concept with a relaxed vibe – think buckets of alcohol a la the ‘Full Moon Party’ and drinks served in paper bags; it sounded like the perfect way to continue the party post-brunch.
We arrived at the venue and approached the entrance, we peeked our heads inside and noticed the venue was deserted – quite surprising really, as it seems like the perfect place to visit post-brunch, especially with it still being a bit too hot outside and there being a couple of popular brunches in the hotel. Nevertheless, we were still looking forward to checking it out and imagining we’re wandering through a Tokyo street market or sipping cocktails on a beach in Thailand.
The security stopped us as we entered and requested we get our hands stamped and remove the wristbands we received at brunch – a little unusual when we’re just going for a couple of drinks and a bit of food in an empty bar, but I’ll let them have that feeling of importance of being a super-hypey club, with need for a militant doorman on a Friday afternoon at 4.
Now, I’m going to digress slightly here, but in general, I’m a fan of dress-codes. I’ve been to a few high-end restaurants in the last couple of years (Vue de Monde – Melbourne, Quay – Sydney, The Grill / Aquavit – New York) where the wife and I have donned our gladrags for an opulent, sophisticated evening and it’s always frustrating when you do arrive and feel like a bit of a nob, as the table next to you are all in shorts or scruffy jeans and trainers. I love the romance of a really high-end restaurant, the fuss made over you, the service staff treating you like a king or queen and it does make me sad when people can’t be bothered to dress appropriately anymore – and that restaurants seem to be a lot more lackadaisical in making diners adhere to their rules.
So, back to Mr. Miyagi’s. Yes, the STREET FOOD joint, selling sandcastle-bucket cocktails, with plastic chairs – yes, THAT Mr. Miyagi’s. We got our stamps, were about to make our first step into the bar when a rude lady came screaming from behind us,
“No flip-flops, you’re not coming in”.
I was in shorts and boating shoes which was acceptable, but the wife, wearing shorts and a smart top with bamboo flip-flops (not Havaianas or anything ostentatious) was not fine.
“Heels & stilettos are fine for ladies, but no slippers. You’re not coming in”.
We first tried to reason with her like adults, explained we’re just here for a couple of drinks and a bite to eat, also that the bar was quiet – but to no avail. I asked to explain how on Earth you can run an ‘Asian Street Food’ concept and have such a ridiculous dress-code, when the whole point of street food is that it’s served on the street where no dress-codes exist but nada. She forcefully asked us to leave and we were left no choice.
It’s great to see another venue popping up in Dubai applying archaic rules that “women should be in heels”, especially when trying to run with a concept that is about as detached to dressing up as you can get. I thought we’d got over these dark ages but obviously not. Mr. Miyagi’s is everything that’s wrong with the industry with disgusting sexist policies, and staff members who think they’re running the door at ‘Le Bain’.
I sincerely hope it goes the same way as the two venues it’s taken over, as there’s just no room for this nonsense in the world any more.