AN INSIDE LOOK INTO THE INTRICATE MAKING OF MEMBERS-ONLY DINING CLUB HAIKU’S SIGNATURE DISH, UNI-CORN.
Tucked away on a side street of Wynwood is Miami’s latest crown jewel—Haiku, a new members-only private restaurant brought by owner Jess Varughese. Derived from the Japanese form of poetry, its name is indicative of the dining experience, according to Varughese—showing great restraint to bring forth a dynamic and captivating work of art. Staying true to its name, Haiku transports diners on an exotic culinary journey, showcasing plates that exemplify expert culinary craft and precision for a memorable and tongue-tantalizing experience that continues to stun upon each return. While the menu changes frequently depending on the dining party’s preferences and the most fresh and exotic ingredients available, one of the restaurant’s key dishes that embodies the Haiku experience is the Uni-Corn. Created by executive chef Albert Diaz, the dish consists of Florida sweet corn in an authentic Japanese chawanmushi dish, decadently topped with Hokkaido uni and kinome. Like the traditional Japanese dish, chef Diaz’s is light and airy, free of dairy. “I have always loved the texture and depth of a traditional Japanese chawanmushi—it is a simple and comforting dish, but the challenge with a dish like this is getting the texture of the custard just right so it ‘trembles’ in the spoon,” explains Diaz. “We took inspiration from this kaiseki staple and made it our own by incorporating an amazing local ingredient, Florida corn, in two ways—in the base custard and as a crunchy tempura topping, pairing it with a quintessential Japanese ingredient, uni. We then top it with shiitake, ginger and soy dashi to amp up the umami flavor.” In expert fashion, it is delicately balanced and bursts with just the right notes of flavor, a delightful and transcendent surprise from start to finish. “This dish is a staple at Haiku for a reason. It exemplifies everything we do and what the Haiku brand stands for: simplicity, restraint, focus on the ingredient, respect of tradition,” notes Varughese. “This is arguably the most traditional dish on our multicourse omakase menu, but we’ve created our modern interpretation of it.” 221 NW 23rd St., Miami, @haikurestaurants