On a Thursday A and I were talking about different places that we have been to and places that we would like to go to. A mentioned to me that there is one place that she would like to go to that she has always had nice meals at. That place is called The Bonsai and is a place that serves share plates of Japanese food. I thought that this sounded like a great idea. When we were on the way to Bonsai I quickly looked up what the rating was on urbanspoon, this particular restaurant has an 87% ranking so I was thinking it has to be pretty good.
As we arrive and ask for a table for two, we also mention that we don’t have a booking but the waitress said she will see if there is a free table. A couple of minutes later she returns and mentions that she has found a free table, as we walk through the restaurant I notice that there is only one table that isn’t reserved, this seems to definitely be a popular place.
Looking at the menu it seems to be split up between sushi, cold and hot shares, salads and main courses. The menu mentions that we should order between 2-3 dishes per person. We order our food and after a very short wait the first of our dishes arrived. We went for the chicken salad, looking around it seems that is chicken salad is definitely popular as nearly every table had also ordered it. As I took a bite I could understand why it was so popular, it was absolutely delicious! The salad had thinly shredded cabbage, small pieces of deep fried chicken, lettuce, Japanese mayo, BBQ sauce and then topped with crispy wantons. I really liked all the different textures in this salad and the sweetness of the Japanese mayo.
The next dish that we ordered to share was the tuna tataki. This was thin slices of tuna which have been seared on the outside but are still raw on the inside. While I thought the tuna was tasty there were a few things that I didn’t like about this dish. One was that I found the searing on the outside didn’t add anything to the tuna, I would rather have a few slices of raw tuna. The other thing I didn’t understand was that the avocado was under the tuna, trying to pick up mushy avocado from a plate with a pair of chopsticks is a very difficult task! The last thing was that this particular dish was 17 dollars which I think is a little expensive for 6 slices of tuna.
There was a dish that A was fairly excited about and that was the ‘takoyaki’. Which are little balls of dough that are filled with small pieces of octopus and then deep fried. When they arrived I knew that they would be delicious and they were. However while they were delicious I feel that they should come with a warning message as the filling was incredibly hot and caused me to burn my mouth a little bit.
The last dish that we ordered was the cajun spiced baby squid. These squid were grilled before being basted with a caramel soy sauce. I really enjoyed this squid, they were something that I feel would go really well with beer. The squid was also served with a token lettuce leaf.
After these four dishes had been ordered we realized that we forgot to order another dish, the eggplant agedashi. This particular dish has fried pieces of eggplant with mochi (which are rice cakes). The mochi are something that is very interesting from a texture point of view as they taste like very very chewy rice. The eggplant was really delicious and did a great job of soaking up all of that yummy agedashi sauce. My only criticism is that there were only four pieces of eggplant, I felt that they could have included a couple more pieces.
A’s thoughts on the bonsai were “Overall I really enjoyed the meal. The highlights were the chicken salad and the octopus balls. The tuna wasn’t anything to rave about and for the same price we could have ordered another chicken salad which was one of the tastiest dishes we had. I really enjoy the flavours of bonsai and the atmosphere of the restaurant is great. I would definitely return but it is the sort of meal that you would have to be in the mood for.”
When I think back about my meal the thing that keeps coming back into my mind is that I was still hungry at the end of the meal. Normally I don’t complain about small servings as I find that where there are small servings the flavours are normally so rich you don’t want a large serving but the flavours weren’t exactly rich. At the end of the day I found that everything we had was really tasty and it was reasonably priced but I would have liked some slightly larger serving sizes. Due to the small serving sizes I don’t know if I would rush back to bonsai for another meal.