The Outram Park neighbourhood does seem to be a happening spot for new F&B establishments these days; aside from Homeground Coffee Roasters’ move to from East Coast Road to Teo Hong Road, there are also new F&B establishments such as Mio that have opened in the area as well. Located at 82 Neil Road, Mio is situated right beside the very first outpost of Apiary. Having started as a delivery-only concept, Mio is not an entirely new start-up in the local F&B scene; in fact, they are opened by the same people behind the now-defunct Bao Makers which had previously operated out of several locations such as Horne Road in Jalan Besar, Teck Lim Road at Outram Park and in Westgate at Jurong East. Mio attempts to be an establishment that “brings traditional, yet artisanal fine Japanese cuisine in their abode” — the space has been designed in a rather clean and minimalistic look with a touch of zen; tastefully decorated to include natural elements such as greenery and even stones in some parts for a peaceful yet modern look. Mio’s menu does carry quite a wide selection of dishes — the menu spreads across various sections such as “The Art of Sushi”, “Sashimi”, “Japan Wagyu Specials”, “Side Dishes”, Rice and Noodles”, “Kid’s Meal”, and “Desserts”, while the list of beverages include non-alcoholic options such as tea and soda, with a wider variety of alcoholic beverages such as beer, red wine, white wine, sparkling wine, gin, sake and sparkling sake.

There were really quite a number of items on the menu that attracted us; a bit of a pity since we only visited Mio with one other pax and could not try everything that seemed to have stood out to us. One of the dishes that we found to be pretty interesting on their menu would be the Asari Clam Somen, which is an item listed on their “Rice & Noodles” section of the menu. The item comprises of elements such as Kombu Butter Broth, Asari Clam, Somen, Shimeiji Mushroom and Japanese White Noodles. First taste of the Kombu Butter Broth and we were really impressed with how it tasted; it’s savoury and briny from the clams, yet garlicky — so much flavours in there but also felt particularly clean, but packs a punch. Moving on to the Asari clams; these were fresh without any undesirable stench whilst the flesh was pretty bouncy and provided for quite a good bite. The choice of the Somen (i.e. Japanese White Noodles) was a pretty good move for the dish as well — the noodles were slippery and slurpy; complements that briny and garlicky Kombu Butter Broth really well to further elevate those clean flavours that one would expect out of a contemporary take of Japanese cuisine. Overall, a dish which we felt that they had certainly looked into the details of flavours and textures in the R&D phase; one that had much heart and thought placed into it.

We have also tried other items at Mio; this includes the Sushi Ball from the “The Art of Sushi” section of the menu; their contemporary take on Nigiri Sushi which is shaped into balls that features salmon, southern bluehn tuna, yellowtail, squid, swordfish, cucumber, red radish,
Japanese sweet egg and prawn; also another dish that we quite liked will be the Goma Goma off the dessert menu that features black sesame cake, house-made black sesame ice cream, speculoos crumble. All in all, despite Mio’s affiliation with the now-defunct Bao Makers, we felt that Mio was something that is leaps and bounds ahead of what Bao Makers used to be; the only association which we could draw to Bao Makers would be the through the Bao of Threes dish that features Ebi Croquette, Japanese Chashu and Miso Nasu Bao which is a Japanese interpretation of the items that Bao Makers were offering previously. That aside, it feels that Mio has got serious potential — from the effort behind the interior decor, to the quality of produce used and the execution of the food; Mio felt like a move away from Bao Maker’s hipster fare into a premium establishment with a contemporary touch that we found to be really impressive. A spot that is likely to become a highlight on social media; probably somewhere to hit before the queues start to form!