During Halloween the canteen tried serving Teriyaki, I never knew a dish could be so relevant to a theme until I ate the Teriyaki Chicken they made. It surely was Halloween. To help regain some comfort, I revisited one of the best Modern Izakaya in town, Bonsai. Located on Roe St, this is my go to place which I visit for modern Japanese fusion that never leaves you walking out with a limp wallet. My recent meal here was no different.
To start, we ordered a chicken salad topped with crispy wanton skin (extra $1.00). Looking back at my previous posts, I labelled the salad here as a “convert” and this time around, it was not different. This was simply my kind of salad; flavourfully robust, juicy, and fresh. Always add the crispy wanton skin as it gives the salad a good crunch that matches with the fresh bite of the cabbage.
Next up was the Aburi salmon nigiri topped with a dollop of red miso. Having the salmon blow torched gave the fish a really nice smokey fragrance while making it more tender too. The Aburi here never fails to satisfy although this time around it could have been a torched a little more evenly.
A dish of seared scallops! Nom nom nom! These little beauties were seared to perfection. Loved the topping which Bonsai does for them lovelies. It complements this dish well.
Some might consider the crab claws a little bit of a dud. It is true, they are. But when you bite into Bonsai's version of it, you will know why it is not. So any perception you might have thinking that it is similar to the artificial ones bought from the oriental shop can now be discarded.
Keep calm, dip into mayo.
Buta no Kakuni is a classic favourite of mine when I go to Japanese restaurants. Braised for hours in a broth made from a mix of Mirin and soy, the humble pork belly is made into a melt-in-your mouth protein with a darkish brown appearance. Its flavours are not meant to be overly salty or sweet but aim is to strike a good balance between them. Here the sauce was all the rave but the pork felt lacking. It was still hard and was not soft through. It is in this aspect that Bonsai failed to deliver.
For the mains we started with a crispy skin duck;
It was crispy skin with no doubt,while the duck itself was cooked to perfection with the middle slightly pinkish leaving it tender. Equally impressive was its presentation which was pretty damn nice. Looking on at the pictures I have taken, it was clear Bonsai was not there to make good food. But rather good looking ones too. Imagine a manicured plant, because that is after all, the art of Bonsai.
The last main we ordered to share was the Teriyaki Wagyu Steak.
This has always been a favourite of mine since my second visit to Bonsai a couple years back. With a choice of how you want it cooked, we asked for medium rare and that is exactly what we got. Topped with shavings of mildy pickled onions, they complemented the tender beef. But the highlight of it all was the sauce. A quality Teriyaki base with a subtle butter flavour made this dish simply sensational. A dish which have been recognised by my peers, friends and family for not being 1 dimensional.Bonsai, you’ve done it again. Thank you for the great hospitality and delicious food.