Founder and chef of the first fine-dining restaurant in Ukraine, Miral. Recognised by the prestigious “50Best discovery” and named as one of the brightest stars on the Ukrainian restaurant scene. Pioneer of the new Ukrainian cuisine. 2019. In the autumn of 2007, he furthered his knowledge at the Copenhagen restaurant Amass – a pioneer of the sustainable restaurant concept worldwide.
Mirali is Ukraine’s first fine-dining restaurant, designed and created by chef Mirali Dilbazi, and opened on 15 January. on 30 November 2021. It has a completely open kitchen based on the principles of seasonality, local ingredients and waste-free production.
The restaurant is located in the industrial area of the historical Podil neighborhood of Kyiv, in a former garage of a packaging factory in the past. The freight garage underwent a complete renovation, however, the industrial atmosphere of the place has been preserved. Thus, there is a pit at the entrance, which has been turned into a cellar for fermentation; there are high ceilings, and original concrete structures, while the facade of the restaurant is open with glass walls.
Seated at any table in the restaurant, a guest can always get a good view and observe the movement of the city through the windows as well as the process of cooking.
Fermentation holds a special place in the ecosystem of Mirali. It allows the team to implement the most outstanding experiments and achieve rarely found flavors. This year, the restaurant got expanded by an R&D kitchen, which produces umeboshi from local plums and apricots, lacto-fermented Japanese quince, katsuobushi from silver carp, and scoby, jam, mullet caviar bottarga, various garums, shoyu, and miso pastes. Mirali uses only locally sourced organically grown farmers’ produce. In line with the zero-waste ideology, all unsold bread is recycled into amazake and miso paste.
70% of the products used in the restaurant are grown organically or do not harm the environment according to the restaurant’s internal standards. There is a rule to buy cattle and poultry from small local farmers who do not restrict cattle’s movement and give them the freedom to graze. Also, the restaurant orders only dairy cattle that are at least 5 years old and receives them in whole carcasses, avoiding any waste. Fish and seafood come from tried and tested fishermen who do not use nets or from farms that adhere to international standards and give preference to tested and approved feed. The use of long-degradable consumables, such as stretch film, parchment paper, foil, and garbage bags, is being reconsidered.
Mirali Dilbazi is a chef and co-founder of Mirali restaurant. He was born in Azerbaijan but has lived most of his life in Ukraine. Before opening his own restaurant in Kyiv, he worked for 4 years as a chef at Khata Podoprihora – his own garden restaurant-hotel in the suburbs. 2019. In the autumn of 2009, he did a traineeship in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Olena Lysytska is the General Manager of Miral restaurant and is responsible for the overall guest experience, marketing and communication. 2022. In the spring of 2009, Olena, with the strong support of Billy Wagner and the involvement of Mirali Dilbaz, organised a German Mirali charity trip, which included 7 dinners at top restaurants – Nobelhart&Schmutzig , Mrs.Robinson’s, Maximilian Lorenz, Mural, 100/200, Horvath, Gustav and Weinsinn.
Anton Yatsuk is a sous chef of Mirali restaurant, who worked together with Mirali Dilbazi in Khata Podoprihora and who with no doubt supported Mirali in his own restaurant.
Maria Ovramenko is a service manager who worked in the Mirali restaurant since its opening.
The philosophy and approach of Mirali restaurant are based on two basic principles – Chef Mirali Dilbazi and his team pay special attention to the quality of products and who grows them. Prior to opening the restaurant, the team spent a year searching for the best farmers who share the same principles. One of the important drivers in creating the menu is experience drawn from different cultures and a connection to Chef Mirali’s native roots, who was born in Azerbaijan. That’s why you can find dolma with XO sauce and suzme on the menu, or Kherson’’s dried tomato with tomato honey as a Mirali’s memory of sweet Baku tomatoes.
Miral’s cuisine is closely linked to permaculture, where different plants grow in harmony with each other. at the same time in the same place. Chef Mirali sees his food in the restaurant as permacuisine, as his approach is closely related to the approach in plant cultivation when dishes are created from seasonal and local products, which are in harmony and complement each other on the plate, maximizing the potential of each species. This approach is as environmentally friendly as possible.
Mirali uses the best techniques from different cultures and parts of the world, from Asia to Scandinavia, still, he only chooses Ukrainian farm products in his creativity.
He calls this approach, a new Ukrainian cuisine, where the focus is to unlock the potential of each ingredient.
The restaurant is designed as an open space, where all the processes are transparent: you can see all the ingredients ending up on your plate in their original condition. The whole team takes part in the service, with the cooks serving dishes along with the waiters, describing the ingredients and the features of the products.
The restaurant’s menu is laconic and built around seasonal local products with a heavy emphasis on in house fermented foods.
Mirali’s wine list consists of 1100 different natural wines (organic and bio-dynamic), among them 200 are rare and unique. The main criterion for selection is a small production, spontaneous fermentation, not more than 70 milligrams of sulfur per liter.