Our usual weekday lunch outing as John works on the weekends finds us at Bonsai restaurant café and lounge.
The Bonsai is set in an old Roe Street warehouse refurbished with remnants of the old – exposed brick walls and hanging wires on high ceilings mixed with modern colours and sleek decor. It’s big inside and yet you don’t feel lost, nicely laid out it looks great.
The building itself is like being a New York City warehouse, spiffed up with slick black surfaces and subdued lighting. The left side of the restaurant is filled with couches and leather chairs and has a cool small bar feel about it. I’m happy to report that the food was as good as the layout, if not better.
The Bonsai Restaurant is an all-in-one Japanese fusion restaurant, cafe and lounge. I have been told that one of the owners is the son of the Japanese takeaway in Claremont that closed to make way for Bayview shopping centre.
The menu offered a la carte main meals or tapas Japanese and a range of desserts displayed in glass cabinets at the front counter.
We decided on some small entrees to get started. Miso soup to warm the tummy which tasted was pretty standard.
We weren’t impressed with their oyster panko, 3 pieces of oysters coated with flaky panko breadcrumbs and basil, deep fried until crispy and served with a wholegrain mustard mayo on the side. We thought the oysters were a little slimey but it was camouflaged by the flavours of the panko batter and the mayo.
The pork belly was one not to be missed and it was yummy. Tender pork belly pieces slow cooked and braised in red wine soy broth, served with white radish and hot English mustard.
We also loved the little pieces of baby squid seasoned with Cajun spice and cooked with butter. Then dressed with garlic caramel soy and chives, it was a huge hit! The squid pieces were cooked to perfection and not chewy at all. We love the heat from the Cajun spices and sweetness from the garlic caramel soy. YUM!
For mains, I couldn’t leave without ordering the pan fried 250g Angus in their signature garlic butter teriyaki sauce and topped with sliced onions and red radish. I used to love going to the Claremont Japanese takeaway and order this! I’m so glad they have taken this dish and putting it on their menu. Beef steak cooked to your liking and served with this sweet yet garlicky butter terkiyaki sauce. Oh so good!!!!
John’s order was their speciality Japanese chicken-mince steak cooked in teriyaki sauce and served with a side of homemade guacamole and cherry tomatoes. 2 thick pieces of chicken-mince patties coated with the teriyaki sauce and their homemade guacamole. Unusual combination but t does work well together.
The service at Bonsai was excellent; all the wait staff were attentive. The food may look simple but the flavours were great. We were stuffed and couldn’t have any of their desserts. The lunch came up to around $90 with a couple of glass of wine to go with our meal. We’ll definitely be back for more especially if they allow me to lick up all that garlic butter teriyaki sauce!
On the whole, 8 ½ for food quality, 8 ½ for atmosphere, 8 ½ for pricing and 8 ½ for service.
The Bonsai Restaurant Café & Lounge
30-36 Roe Street
Tel: 9227 5756
Opening Hours: Lunch Friday only 11.30am – 2.00pm
Dinner Tuesday to Sunday 5.30pm to 9.30pm