Mizu Q&A | Living North

Mizu Q&A

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Image of Mizu Restaurant Interior
Mizu opened its doors just a year ago, bringing pan-Asian cuisine to the Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa in Borrowdale. Now, it has won the title of Best Newcomer at the Golden Chopsticks Awards 2019

What can we expect when dining at Mizu?
Mizu is a pan-Asian restaurant that offers a unique dining experience in the heart of the Lake District. The atmosphere is really casual and the food we serve combines Thai, Chinese, Korean, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine, with a Japanese influence at its core. It’s a real treat for the senses.

What does Mizu mean?
Taking its name from the Japanese term for ‘falling water’, Mizu refers to the restaurant’s prime location, overlooking the stunning Lodore Falls.

What makes Mizu unique?
The location and the team. Mizu boasts one of the best locations in the Lake District, with views of Derwentwater, the beautiful fells to the left and the magnificent Lodore Falls to the right. We also have an excellent team – the kitchen is led by Head Chef Kasun Jayasooriya and his senior team, myself and Chef de Partie Adrian Embang (we both hail from the Philippines). Kasun is originally from Sri Lanka but studied the art of Japanese food in Tokyo, bringing his passion for Japanese cuisine to Mizu. Japanese food is packed full of flavour, using a variety of herbs, sake rice wine, and marinades. I add European influences to the menu, as I’ve spent a long time working in restaurants in Britain. I think that this unusual combination of flavours and culinary cultures is what makes our food so popular.

What dishes can we look forward to trying?
Diners can try sensational sushi and sashimi, crispy tempura, fragrant curries and delicately spiced bowls of ramen, as well as tender meat, chicken and fish dishes from the grill – all with a Mizu twist.

Who do you look to for inspiration?
I’m inspired by Hanaya Yoshi who was the inventor of nigiri sushi in the 1800s, using fresh fish caught in Tokyo Bay and lightly cooked or marinated in soy sauce or vinegar. When I was 18 years old, I started reading about him and his culinary heritage and found it fascinating. From this point on I started cooking Japanese-style cuisine. I’ve also been massively influenced by Bong Lam, who is an incredible Chinese chef. He’s been awarded Master Chef by the World Association of Chinese Cuisine and makes the most amazing dumplings.

How did it feel to win the Golden Chopsticks Award for Best Newcomer 2019?
I couldn’t believe it – we’ve only been open for a year. It was particularly special as it’s the first award I’ve won in pan-Asian cuisine. It was a bit of a risk opening a style of restaurant that’s different from the norm, but the directors of Lake District Hotels saw a gap in the market and jumped on it.

What are your favourite ingredients to cook with at the moment?
We’re enjoying combining a mild teriyaki sauce, which reflects our Japanese influence, with sweet wine and chilli that’s often used in Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine. 

Which dish on your menu most represents Mizu?
Our most popular dish is our local lamb, but I think our seabass dish represents our style of pan-Asian cooking. The rice is infused with Japanese flavours, the salad is full of Thai flavours whilst the fish is served with a mild Cantonese sauce.

Where do you source your ingredients?
We source fresh vegetables and meat from the local area, including chicken and lamb. Only a few of our ingredients have to come from the Far East, such as our papaya and mango. I am very picky with the ingredients we use but I think the quality of our local produce is what makes our dishes so special.

What has been your culinary journey to Mizu’s kitchen? 
At 16 years old, I was an apprentice at the InterContinental hotel in Manila in the Philippines. I later moved to the InterContinental in Abu Dhabi – a long way away from Manila! I was cooking Japanese cuisine in the restaurant there, and then I went to work at Miyako restaurant in Dubai before moving to Britain. I’ve since worked in London at Kurobuta, which serves Japanese food, and the Thai restaurant Busaba before moving to Birmingham, where I cooked at the Park Regis Hotel.

How have you found the move to the Lake District? 
I moved here in April 2018, and Mizu opened in May. It’s a very different work environment – in London and Birmingham I was working in teams of around 15 to 20 people, whereas here there are only five of us in the kitchen and we’re cooking for many more diners than that. It’s hard work but very enjoyable. When I’m not working I love to go for a run around Derwentwater or I go fishing – even though it’s quite cold here.

What plans are in the pipeline at Mizu?
Our new menu will launch this summer with lots of new dishes and flavours to try. We’ve started doing sushi-making masterclasses, which we’re really excited about. We hope to inspire people to try a different type of cooking which they may not be used to.

Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa, Borrowdale Valley, Keswick 
CA12 5UX
08008 401246 www.lakedistricthotels.net/mizu

Published in: August 2019

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