A while ago, we ended up in Dorchester for the first time in our lives. It was a planned excursion (we had an appointment there) but despite this, we really had no idea what to expect from the local area. Once we were done with our appointment, lunch time had rolled around so we went out rather aimlessly onto the high street in search of sustenance. As these things go, that was when we stumbled across a real hidden gem of a restaurant: Myra’s Kaiseki.
To be fair, we were a little sceptical of the place at first. Myra’s specialises in Japanese food which was a major attraction and got us through the front door. Once in, the aforementioned scepticism started to sink in. The restaurant was small and there only seemed to be one person on the waitstaff. The other diners all seemed to know this waitstaff member. We started to feel a little self-conscious. OK, I say we but I can just picture my partner’s reaction after he reads this: “Quit your lying lies, liar!” Fine. I (and I alone) was feeling slightly self-conscious. I’m sure some of you out there can relate. Just picture a saloon in an old Western film. You’ve got the town’s local colourful characters sat around, nursing their beers. There’s Old Toothless. And Old Stabby. Everyone knows each other. There’s a sense of unspoken unity in the air. Then bang. The Saloon doors swing open and in waltzes a flashy-looking outsider. An outsider in our Watering Hole? You could cut the tension in the air with a knife. I admit, this is slightly melodramatic but this is the level of self-consciousness I felt.
Needless to say, my observations were astute but my conclusions could be dubbed: ‘ridiculous with a hint of social anxiety.’ It turns out, Myra’s was a small place. It was a family owned business run by a husband and wife – Myra and Paul. Understandably, it was a place a lot of locals frequented and supported which is actually absolutely lovely (and makes me embarrassed on behalf of my own Wild West-imagining imagination). The one waitstaff member was actually Paul himself and he was the most accommodating and attentive host.
My words cannot do the presentation and the taste of the food justice but hopefully these pictures give some insight into the quality of what is served.
As Paul was so approachable, we enquired about this thing on the menu called ‘flowering tea.’ Paul highly recommended it so we gave it a try. You guys. First off, it was the most beautiful tea I’ve ever set my eyes on (soz, PG Tips). On top of that, it tasted light, slightly fruity and very refreshing.
Flowering tea consists of a bundle of dried tea leaves which get wrapped around dried flowers. When the bundle of tea leaves and flowers gets steeped in hot water, it starts to expand and unfurl and essentially starts to resemble the process of a blooming flower. Beautiful, right?
For the next few months, we were all about that flowering tea hype. We bought flowering tea online (having taken the name of the brand that sell the bulbs from the restaurant). We bought flowering tea teapots. We bought cute little flowering tea glass cups. It was like a whirlwind romance. Thankfully, we still love flowering tea. We’ve just grown out of the honeymoon period. There is just something about flowering tea that just makes me happy.
The best experiences in restaurants are the ones where you get to try new things – so thank you Paul for introducing us to Japanese flowering tea. When we got home, I Googled the restaurant and found out that they had won a Taste of Dorset Innovation Award. I couldn’t help but smile – that sounded about right.