MÉLI-MÉLO is hidden away on the second floor of a building near the entrance to Motomachi’s Nakadori Street, and I highly encourage you to seek it out. Its interesting name comes from the French word meaning “jumble”. The restaurant has a cozy kitchen and dining space surrounded by Vietnamese tableware, plants and flowers. The owners, husband-wife team Kiyoshi and Kiyomi Yoshida, fell deeply in love with Vietnamese cuisine and visit the country several times a year.
The Yoshidas use a plethora of fresh vegetables and mint leaves just like authentic Vietnamese cuisine, though their dishes are not overly spicy. I started with the most popular menu item, Vietnamese fried spring rolls with lettuce and herbs (¥1400). Wrap the freshly fried spring rolls in lettuce along with plenty of coriander, shiso and mint leaves. Dip them in homemade tomato chili sauce with a drop of lime juice to complete the experience.
Kiyoshi’s recommendation is the daily appetizer dish with 3 items (¥1200~) prepared by Kiyomi. Delightful appetizers such as Vietnamese green papaya salad with prawn and marinated oysters in oil with coriander make for a perfect match with the Vietnamese beer (¥750~). Alternatively, Kiyomi’s recommendations are Kiyoshi’s mushroom and seafood ajillo (¥750~¥900) and the coffee shop style spaghetti, Napolitan (¥900).
The recipe for the Napolitan was passed down to Kiyoshi by Kiyomi’s father, who ran a coffee shop in Kannai for over 40 years. “My father-in-law rarely compliments my cooking,” laughs Kiyoshi. But for Kiyomi, her husband’s cuisine is “a delicious taste from her childhood.” With Vietnamese food, ajillo, Napolitan and over 30 other items, the menu is a jumbled mix as the restaurant’s name suggests. Be sure to visit there on an empty stomach as you’ll feel compelled to try everything!
Naka-ku Motomachi 5-196 Wakamatsu Bld. 2F
Dinner: Tues-Sun 18:00-24:00
Lunch: Fri, Sat & Sun 12:00-16:00
Closed on Mon and the 2nd and 4th Tues of the month