28th August 2015 2pm

Bento Box - Bonsai

Bento Box – Bonsai

We randomly chose to go to the Broughton Street branch of Bonsai on the spur of the moment as my friend had just got off the train from Manchester and this place is just round the corner from where I live. I had heard mixed things about Bonsai but we decided to give it a shot.

The restaurant was decorated in relatively traditional colours of black, red and white. We were given a table at the window and provided menus. There was lots of choice on the menu, including beef tataki, which is often missed off Japanese menus but I really enjoy. Saying that, we saw a deal for the bento box for £9.90 which seemed good value so we opted for that. You picked a main dish, a sushi dish and rice or noodles. I went for salmon teriyaki and tuna nigiri and rice in mine. My friend went for tofu and avocado and red pepper maki and rice.

Another bento box - Bonsai

Another bento box – Bonsai

Miso soup was presented with the bento box. I often dislike miso as it can be a bit too salty for my palate but this was absolutely lovely. The spring onions gave it a nice lift. Unusually, I finished off the lot. Onto the bento box itself, the teriyaki salmon was lovely and sticky. This was a generous portion of salmon. The tuna in the nigiri was good and rice held well for soy sauce dunking. I could have eaten many more of those (yeah I know – greedy). The rice was as expected and nothing really to report. The accompanying salad was a bit underwhelming and felt a bit limp. My friend had the same opinion of the salad. He enjoyed his tofu and maki rolls and thought they were decent.

I would come here again for a quick lunch or dinner. Whilst the food did not blow me away, it was solid and did the job.

Food – 7/10
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 9/10

Overall – 30/40

Cost £25 for two bento boxes, a beer and a diet coke.

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Bento Ya

1st July 2015 6.45pm

I had been hearing good things about Bento Ya and when a friend suggested going after giving blood, I jumped at the chance. Easily accessed from Lothian Road, Bento Ya is a small restaurant with a lighter front section and a darker back section with twinkly coloured lights in the ceiling. We were seated quickly and started to scan the menu. There was certainly plenty that was catching my eye, so much so it was making it difficult to choose. In the end we went for a sushi platter to share as a starter and then I went for sizzling teriyaki salmon, which automatically came with rice and my friend went for chicken katsu curry rice. We weren’t able to drink but it is worth noting that the restaurant has a free BYOB policy for one bottle of wine between two people. We stuck to soft drinks, which were served in jam jars with handles, which didn’t quite fit with the rest of the restaurant.

Sushi - Bentoya

Sushi – Bentoya

Without having to explain, it was understood that we would be sharing the sushi platter as a starter and were brought a plate and a soy sauce bowl each. The platter was beautifully presented in a lovely high sided serving plate. It had a mix of rolls and nigiri and a small pile of wasabi and pickled ginger. Each piece was absolutely delicious and would be extremely good value to eat for one person as a light main. The pieces didn’t collapse on picking up or eating, as often happens in Yo Sushi, which made them so much easier to eat and enjoy.

Salmon and chicken - Bentoya

Salmon and chicken – Bentoya

After a little wait our mains arrived. Mine came sizzling in its dish as promised. A little side bowl of rice was also provided. The salmon was plentiful although felt a little chucked onto the plate. It was accompanied with beansprouts, carrots and beans. The salmon was soft and not dry. Sadly though the teriyaki flavour was a bit lacking for me. It hadn’t permeated the salmon much and seemed a bit watery across the dish. The vegetables were nice though and the rice was well cooked. On the other side of the table, the katsu curry rice came in a humungous bowl. My friend was a bit over-faced with it. The carrots that accompanied the dish were simply too big to eat, particularly with chopsticks. Again the meat was fine but the sauce lacked flavour and was a little too thin. There was far too much rice and she couldn’t finish her portion.

Whilst the restaurant had got busier since we arrived, it took over 20 minutes for us to be able to ask for the bill and even then we had to get someone’s attention and the table wasn’t cleared. So overall, I think if I headed back to Bento Ya it would only be for the sushi and I’d only go if I was not in a hurry.

Food – 7/10

Service – 6/10

Atmosphere – 8/10

Value – 9/10

Overall – 30/40

Cost – £27 for a platter and two mains and two drinks