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).
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!
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.