Mina No Ie
For some reason there seems to be a rise in the number of Japanese cafes/restaurants/izakayas opening lately, as my inbox is constantly flooded with news of it from Agenda, Broadsheet and various other newsletters I’ve subscribed to. One name that keeps popping up lately is Mina No Ie, brought to you from the team at Cibi.
With such a cute name (Everyone’s home) that promotes good home style food that relies on organic local produce, we were definitely intrigued. Having already frequented Peel St. often enough (back in my Tokyo Bike obsessed days…not that long ago) and being a fan of Cibi, Andrea and I set out to Collingwood.
The warehouse-turned-cafe interior is bright and spacious, with lots of open spaces as well as display area where you can browse for various stylishly design goodies, ranging from tshirts to notebooks to quirky home decorations. I’m always a big fan of cafes filled with natural light.
We settled for tea in place of our usual coffees as it seemed like a better match. The Hojicha (Roasted green tea) was fragrant and reminded me of the pack I bought from Uji in Kyoto.
Andrea ordered the Winter Soup with Brown Rice & Red Quinoa Onigiri - I tried a bit and it was lovely. The onigiri was flavourful and the homemade soup simple, but hearty and tasty. I didn’t find out what it contained exactly but I imagine it’d be a mix of seasonal organic vegetables. Seems like this would be a great light meal during winter.
I opted for the Sweet Miso Eggplants and Butternut Pumpkin Baked Eggs with Toasted Sourdough Bread. Now those who know me might be surprised as I can be extremely picky with my vegetables (oh hush!) and in fact, it was not until recently that I warmed up to both eggplants and pumpkins. The baked egg was served on a mini cast iron dish on top of a heavy wooden block that gives off a rustic presentation.
On the first bite, I was excited to find that they’ve added melted cheese. The sour dough was nicely toasted and buttery, added a nice crunch that went really well with the sweet-salty-gooey combo. If anything the dish was a tad sweet (way beyond Andrea’s acceptable sweetness limit) Since I have a pretty high tolerance for sugar, I quite liked it. Still, it probably would have tasted fine (if not better) if they halved the sweet miso.
Nevertheless, it was very more-ish. This would make a great comfort food on cold days, sad days, or well…just any day really.
Loved the butternut pumpkin, and the eggplant soaked up all the yummy juices (and the sweetness at the bottom) The portion was just right for me. Definitely something I’d come back for. Though if I were to be picky perhaps with less sugar and slightly runnier eggs next time?
This dish reminded me of those Korean corn cheese that’s normally served with condensed milk. If you like them, you’d probably love this.
Overall we really liked Mina No Ie and can see it on our regular brunch rotation list. We also noted that Aka Siro is located exactly across Mina No Ie. Perhaps next week. Apparently they’re not too keen on people taking pictures of their food though…