Mizu Noodle Bar, Ipswich

I felt a bit sorry for Mizu when Wagamama announced they were opening in Ipswich.  I steadfastly ignored the new kid on the block until one weak moment on New Year’s Eve, when we decided Wagamama would be ‘nicer’.  And yes, she’s the bigger, shinier sister at the pan-Asian party but I tell you what:  the food’s not a patch on lovely little Mizu.

Last week, Mizu had put on an extra slick of lippy.  A bit of a makeover but nothing flash.   A couple of pictures on the walls; a fresh coat of paint.  Open a few more hours now, it’s perfect for a quick bite.

Between the three of us we scoffed our way through roast duck with noodles – wonderfully simple with the tender duck in a rich, glistening salty soy sauce; the combo curry, in all its unphotographable glory, a mixture of chicken, beef, prawns and pork with rice, onion and peas that induced a serious amount of happy man-grunting.  Let’s not forget the crunchy little chicken & coriander gyoza and my beloved chilli & pepper squid.  I swear I dream about their squid.  The Chicken Laksa Lomein was apparently so delicious I wasn’t even allowed a taste.

The thing with Mizu is that the food’s bloody good and there’s an alarmingly huge amount of it – neither fancy nor elegant but rather like something you could knock up at home, if only you had the energy.  The long tables are friendly but not intrusive.  It’s quick and buzzy but, ok, not remotely romantic.  The ever-so-slightly disdainful service is part of its slightly tawdry charm.  Who needs big and brash when you’ve got small and honest?

I’m glad they’re holding their own in the big, glitzy world around them.  Long live the independents!

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