Miyuko

Miyuko is a tiny, brightly coloured Wonderland run by Sara Hochuli. It is famous for its breakfasts and, above all, for its incredible cakes.

Everyone’s talking about Sara Hochuli’s amazing cakes. She has attracted a celebrity clientele that includes the Rolling Stones, Amy McDonald and Björk, and companies like Swatch, Swarovski, Google and Greenpeace have also fallen in love with her extraordinary creations. This bubbly businesswoman has now settled (for a while) in Miyuko, the little café where she invites her guests to enjoy afternoon tea or one of her special breakfasts, known as Gnüsser Zmorge.

Whether you’ve sought it out because you’ve read one of the rave reviews or simply stumbled across it, the cafe glows like a jewel in its rather dull setting. When you finally find the café, tucked away in district 6, it’s like walking into a miniature Wonderland. At Miyuko there are cakes in all the colours of the rainbow with exciting flavours such as chocolate-mango-passion fruit and matcha-sesame. Visit for afternoon tea, and you’ll find cake stands so brimming with scones, cakes and other delicacies that even Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter and the March Hare would have been struck dumb. The decor is equally playful with coffee cups acting as lampshades, a counter covered with manga and anime figures, and walls decorated with home-made Japanese designs. And here, in the middle of this mini Wonderland, is Alice – Sara Hochuli – in a petrol blue dress and with blue streaks in her sassy blonde topknot.

The decor is equally playful with coffee cups acting as lampshades, a counter covered with manga and anime figures, and walls decorated with home-made Japanese designs.

image
image

Ad

Miyuko has long been a favourite of foodies in and around Zurich. Its fame has spread beyond the city and it has received a number of awards. ‘At first, baking was just a hobby,’ says Sara, but this led her to the idea of opening her own café, urged on by friends who said she should turn her talent for creating amazing confections into a business. This inspiration came to her at a time when she was running a shop called Plastikhaar, selling colourful wigs and hair extensions. As it happens, at that time Sara’s partner Dominik Grenzler was thinking of training to be a barista. So they latched onto their dream of running their own café – and opened Miyuko. The name comes from Sara’s love of Japanese pop culture. As a trained graphic designer, she decided to create a character called Miyuko in typical manga style.

image
image

A lot has happened since then. Sara and Dominik moved to Iceland, where they opened Miyuko’s ‘sister café’, Kumiko, and ran it for two years. The couple had their share of ups and downs in Iceland. First there were problems with the location, then Dominik had some health issues. When Sara’s father and co-owner of Kumiko died suddenly in 2017, they decided to return to Switzerland – back to Miyuko. It may not all have gone to plan, but Sara doesn’t regret her time in Iceland for a second: ‘Sometimes it’s the big challenges that allow you to learn a lot and that have a lasting impact,’ she says. But now Sara and Dominik have lost their constant desire to travel: ‘It’s funny, but it was only by going away that I really felt I had come home,’ says Sara.

It may not all have gone to plan, but Sara doesn’t regret her time in Iceland for a second.

image
image

A lot has happened since then. Sara and Dominik moved to Iceland, where they opened Miyuko’s ‘sister café’, Kumiko, and ran it for two years. The couple had their share of ups and downs in Iceland. First there were problems with the location, then Dominik had some health issues. When Sara’s father and co-owner of Kumiko died suddenly in 2017, they decided to return to Switzerland – back to Miyuko. It may not all have gone to plan, but Sara doesn’t regret her time in Iceland for a second: ‘Sometimes it’s the big challenges that allow you to learn a lot and that have a lasting impact,’ she says. But now Sara and Dominik have lost their constant desire to travel: ‘It’s funny, but it was only by going away that I really felt I had come home,’ says Sara.

‘To be honest, I’m happy when I don’t have to watch them being cut.’

image
image
image

Back to Miyuko and those delectable cakes. 38-year-old Sara makes them to order. ‘If it’s a complex order we work on it in stages, sometimes eight or nine hours at a time,’ she says. Doesn’t it upset you when these stunning creations are cut into slices? ‘To be honest, I’m happy when I don’t have to watch them being cut,’ she admits with a laugh. But these days it’s not enough for cakes to simply taste delicious. Food has become a lifestyle: ‘Sometimes even I’m amazed at the complex, expensive cakes that we make for our customers.’ People who prefer something savoury are also well catered for at Miyuko. Sara’s special breakfasts include her home-produced cheese, Buureschüblig sausage from the butcher, salty spreads and an energy rice salad.

‘I think, particularly for a small business, it’s important to stand up for what you believe in.’

image

Miyuko began offering vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free options early on and has always had a focus on sustainable produce. ‘I think, particularly for a small business, it’s important to stand up for what you believe in. We take great care in selecting our suppliers and our customers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from.’ That’s why the small amount of meat that appears on the menu at Miyuko comes from the local butcher in Oberglatt. The team buys fruit, vegetables and mountain cheese from Obsthaus Gujer in Rümlang.

image

In Alice in Wonderland there’s a sentence that says you can only do impossible things if you believe they are possible. Sara and her team certainly seem to have taken this to heart, and they have already achieved so much. After a thriving café and lots of other successful business ideas – such as their own chocolate collection or designing their own Swatch – what’s next? ‘Now my priority is Miyuko. For a long time it felt like we were just fire-fighting, dealing with problems. But now we have found our true identity.’

Address

Miyuko
Beckenhofstrasse 7
8006 Zürich
+41 44 350 21 43
Website

Opening times

Wednesday to Friday, 9 am – 7 pm
Saturday to Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm