Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bonsai Japanese Restaurant

Bonsai Japanese in Northbridge is one of those places I wish I had discovered earlier.

I wish I had come here instead of Matsuri Japanese in the CBD and those times I couldn’t think of a nice restaurant to take family or friends to.
Bonsai has won me over so much in fact, that I am declaring it my new favourite restaurant!
(If only I had endless money to fund this newly found sensation…)

The décor in Bonsai is beautiful, dim lighting, plush couches and seating, perfexcly set tables and an abundance of dining settings to suit your occasion. There is even a dining room where you can hold functions with larger tables (*COUGH* Birthday *Cough) and the smiling faces of staff greet you as you enter, eager to show you to your seat.

We were promptly offered drinks which came almost instantly and we browsed the menu, trying not to drool at the sound of the flavours and sauces in the dishes which oozed indulgence.
Terms such as “caramel soy” and “cajun”, “miso broth” “butter soy” and “delicate meat” made me so excited to order I couldn’t simply decide! THESE are the flavours I have been craving, THIS is the modern Japanese I have been dying to try!

We started with the Salmon Sashimi on Asparagus (6 pieces $12.90).
This was my ideal starter! Gorgeous slices of fresh salmon resting on a bed of blanched asparagus with “yukke sauce” (this is a chilli sauce) and drizzled with a chilli mayo and fresh chives. Each bite melted in my mouth and the chilli hit was subtle but perfect. The creamy mayo complimented the chilli yukke sauce and the fresh crunch of asparagus provided the perfect textual contrast from the smooth salmon sashimi. Ultimate perfection.

Cajun Spiced Baby Squid (8 pieces $9.50) came next which was yet another incredible sensation! 

Baby squid pieces BBQ’d with tasty Cajun spicing and butter with a garlic caramel soy dressing and chives. “Garlic caramel soy” – Can you get any better sounding words?!
The subtle spice of the Cajun seasoning contrasted with the sweet caramel soy was the perfect balance of flavours. It’s hard to describe how much this dish just impressed me with the unusual flavours I am becoming a big fan of!
The Miso Soup ($4) was the BEST Miso I have tasted to date! I was pleasantly surprised with the smooth, not-too-salty soup which had enoki and button mushrooms, freshly chopped spring onions and pieces of tofu and seaweed.

We then moved onto our “Main” for the night which was the Teri-Fish. ($23.90)
This was recommended as a popular dish at Bonsai and I can certainly see why!

Beautifully tender pan fried fish (cooked one way only) fell apart at the touch and melted in your mouth as you tasted the sweet, salty ginger teriyaki sauce. This was served on perfectly  julienned zucchini and garnished with roasted cherry tomato & leek. These veggies were soasking in the gorgeous flavor of the sauce (karashi-su-miso) and complimented the delicate white fish to perfection. I could have eaten this dish all night!
It was served with a small serving of fluffy white rice which we could have used twice the serving of considering we were both sharing this main, but it was enough for one person. 
 Hungry for more and curious to see if Bonsai could possibly give us a dish we didn’t fall head-over-heels in love with, we opted for a few more starters to share.

We ordered the Butter Soy Clams (12 pieces $12.90) which were probably my least favourite meal of the night. Don’t get me wrong, these were delicious, cooked in a buttery soy broth which had a flavour I couldn’t put my finger on…I don’t know whether this was a sweetness or salt taste that didn’t sit quite right with me. I also haven’t eaten clams much before, or to my memory – ever. So this could have contributed to my slight dislike of this dish. I probably wouldn’t order this again, but considering this was the least favourite, it goes to show the standard at Bonsai.

We also tried the Pan Fried Mushrooms with a karashi-su-miso (6 pieces - $7.80) 

These gorgeous Portobello mushrooms were sitting plump on the plate and burst with flavor the moment you put them into your mouth. They were dressed with karashi-su-miso and lemon shallot vinaigrette finished with a sprinkle of shichimi. There was also a sweet caramel soy dressing that just took these mushrooms to the next level! Unbelieveable dish that I could have gone back for more and more. I managed to take spoonfuls of the vinaigrette and caramel soy sauce and the plate went back almost licked clean. Delicious!
The meals came out so fast, it was nice to see that once your meal is made, it doesn’t hang around in the kitchen, and rather is brought out to you straight away. Even though it meant we had only started our entrée’s when our main came out, this didn’t matter as we were able to graze and enjoy all the flavour sensations.

Lastly we thought we better try some sushi. We ordered the Unagi Sushi (6 pieces - $7.90). If you have tried eel before, it is a very oily seafood but teamed with the right flavours can be absolutely delicious. This sushi was a little simpler than I had expected. It was wrapped in fluffy white rice with aioli and caramel soy. It was lovely, gobbed up quickly and as usual, not enough, but suitable. I’m a big fan of sushi being filled with a wonderful variety of raw fish, gooey avocado, tempura pieces and roe, so I guess my expectations were a little high for this baby eel wrapped in some rice.

Overall this experience was absolutely delightful! I highly recommend Bonsai. The service was impeccable, the dishes sensational and the flavours so memorable! I can’t wait to come back and try more and more dishes from this menu! Who wants to come and we’ll have a banquet so I can try everything!!!

Highs: The combination of flavours in each and every dish
Lows: The unusual tasting clams which weren’t particularly my thing
Overall: 10/10
Will I return? After writing this post, I want to go back now!!

The Bonsai Restaurant Cafe & Lounge on Urbanspoon


  1. Enoki in miso soup!?!?!? OMG I want to try this! I LOVE enoki!

  2. Yes it was THE BEST Miso Soup I have tasted ever! I am also a huggeee mushroom fan and I love Enoki mushrooms along with every other type! You would have loved the Pan Fried portebello Mushrooms with a karashi-su-miso! These were delicious and oozing flavour! Please go here so I can read your review on the amazing food! I promise you won't be dissapointed! :P

  3. Hi darls, I posted my review on Bonsai today if you're in the mood for a read. Have a great weekend ;)

    1. Ahh I saw this today via one of your many social media mediums that I follow! So yum hey!!
      Posted a reply but it didnt work so will try again! :)

  4. ROFL! I am a bit of a social media addict! Both your comments got through...thanks! Did you want me to delete one? If so which one?

    1. Haha oh no! Yeh delete choose :P thanks!!