The city of Fukuyama in Hiroshima Prefecture has a sightseeing spot called Tomonoura which was made famous by becoming the backdrop for the Studio Ghibli animated film Ponyo, directed by Hayao Miyazaki. A 7-minute walk from Fukuyama Station—the gateway to the city—is "Miroir", a long-established restaurant that represents the best of Fukuyama. The owner-chef Takao Nakayama trained in different places before going independent and opening the business in 2003. He is a skilled chef who has received a one-star rating two times in a row, no doubt due to the self-study he has done by poring over books and the journeys he has had and people he has met during his frequent travels to France.
The seafood at "Miroir" is sourced from the Kasaoka Islands in the Seto Inland Sea, with Manabeshima—an island made famous by a book by Florent Chavouet—supplying ingredients such as squilla, Japanese blue crab, "aka-ashi ebi" prawns, and Japanese sea fig. Vegetables are special Fukuyama products such as spinach, aodai, cucumbers, and figs. By purchasing local products that are in season during different times of the year, Miroir offers French cuisine of the kind that is unique to Fukuyama. The restaurant is particular about salt and the way that the food is heated. With these 2 simple elements, "Miroir" is able to draw out the best of the ingredients to the ultimate degree. For example, butterfish that has simply been salted and baked/pan-fried or lobster that is simply boiled in water with salt have a sensual aroma and texture and are bursting with deep, rich flavor. Chef Nakayama’s style with his main ingredients is to combine elements inspired by natural scenes on the plate. For example, a dish based on his image of “the scent of the sea and grass” expresses this idea through baked/pan-fried butterfish with a tarragon sauce with a garnish of boiled beans. He explains the inspiration for a dish such as this as coming from the “empty space” of his inner world. Chef Nakamura used to read books by/about the chef Georges Auguste Escoffier during his teens and has made over a dozen trips to different parts of France since he was in his early 20s. The inner world that he has built up through his encounters with a range of different ingredients and people is reflected in his cooking as if it was a mirror (Miroir, the restaurant name, being the French for “mirror”), to become a highly distinctive group of dishes that could be called “a fusion with Nakayama.”
"Miroir" has only 3 tables and a private room. Antique furniture gives the space a subdued ambiance. The service continues the traditional style of service in French restaurants, carving dishes and lifting off the cloche tableware cover in front of the customer’s table in an all-around orchestration of “a space for enjoying French cuisine.” The elegant ambiance of Miroir is perfect for anniversaries and business entertainment. The wine is a lineup of mostly Bordeaux and Burgundy vintages that will make for a blissful time enjoyed at a slow pace with the cuisine. We do hope that you will make your way to Fukuyama so that you may enjoy "Miroir", a renowned establishment located in regional Japan.
*The availability of this webpage does not guarantee that the restaurant presented provides services in English unless otherwise stated. Please be aware that English services may also depend on staff availability at the restaurant.
A 5-minute walk from Fukuyama Station(JR Sanyo Honsen)