I have not been to Japan, but visiting Mizu, a Japanese Izakaya restaurant, helped me experience a taste of Japanese culture and cuisine. 

The restaurant offers the Izakaya style, which means dishes are designed to be shared at the table.

Mizu, a Japanese-inspired Izakaya restaurant, opened its doors at the former Coral betting shop on Sheep Street last month on Sunday, April 7.

Izakayas are described as being popular spots for socialising, drinking, and eating, and offering a variety of food and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere.

The menu consists of small plates, hot plates, sushi, curries, noodles and a range of signature dishes. 

My wife and I booked in for lunch at Mizu, and a lunch menu includes bento boxes and noodles is offered from 12pm to 3pm.

Our visit to Mizu gave me the opportunity to try some new food and drink I had never had before. 

One of the first-time choices I really enjoyed was the Mizu seaweed crackers as one of our starters. The seaweed crackers are crispy deep-fried seaweed rice paper which is delicately seasoned with a blend of shichimi.

We also ordered the sautéed edamame, which are a fried soya-beans cooked with a garlic and spicy teriyaki sauce. The sauce was absolutely amazing. 

We also really enjoyed the salmon California sushi roll, which came with avocado, cucumber, crab stick, tomago egg, Japanese mayonnaise, sesame seeds and tobiko, which is eggs flying fish. 

We did not order off the typical lunch menu. I ordered the chicken Yaki Soba as my main, which was Japanese soba noodles stir-fry, pak choi with mixed vegetables and a tasty ginger pickles sauce with sesame seeds. 

My chicken noodle Yaki Soba was packed with mouth-watering flavours that I savoured with every bite. 

My wife ordered the Iberico pork Katsu as her main, which is Panko breaded Spanish iberico pork with truffle mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce, served with seasonal salad. 

While we did not order from Mizu's lunch menu it is full of different options from several noodle bowls to multiple Bento boxes. 

A bento box is a Japanese single-portion boxed meal consisting of several different food types. The Bento box options, include Mizu Bento, which is sashimi and sushi and a Take Bento, which is salmon teriyaki with rice. 

The lunch menu also offers several soup noodle options from Tonkotsu Ramen, which is pork broth ramen with a sesame miso paste, spicy minced beef, mushrooms, pak choi, spring onions, egg and La-Yu chilli oil. 

The excellent customer service from our primary server Barry along with the others who served us helped make for an exceptional evening out. 

The atmosphere and décor really made me think I’d left the area and gone to Japan as it had a small bonsai tree in the corner and an exquisitely decorated curtain separated the entry to the hallway for toilets at the restaurant, which I thought was a unique addition.   

I’m grateful to have discovered the Japanese inspired Izakaya restaurant in Bicester

It has to be one of the best meals I’ve had in a long long time, and I would highly recommend it.