Monday, May 23, 2011

Popping Sushi @ Bonsai

Sushi is thought to be an acquired taste and might not be for everyone, but the chef at Bonsai restaurant in VI prepares wonderful sushi that changes minds..

Sushi is just the beginning, as the original menu at Bonsai rivals the beauty of its setting.

The chef at Bonsai took the Japanese menu and put his own twist on it in a way that will bring satisfaction to any and all taste buds. I will say I am not only a novice when it comes to sushi, but it would not be my first choice when it comes to dining. In amazing fashion, the Bonsai chef changed my mind. Not only did he provide two dishes that passed the taste test, but they were so tantalizing they have made me a fan of sushi—at least at Bonsai. The soft shell crab was the best I have ever tried. I would say the ginger added a nice flavor, but what really set this dish apart was the crunchy texture of the tempura; it was a delightful extra touch. The second sushi dish that grabbed my taste buds was the poppin’ spicy crab. Most times I can tell if a dish is original, and well it might not be all that original; but assuredly, this one is. The secret ingredient is pop rocks. I could hear the sushi popping when it was served, and I could feel the popping as I ate it. This dish does a wonderful job of walking me through the layers of flavour. The first sensation is, of course, the popping, which started me off with sweetness and just a hint of crunchy texture. Next I received the crab, well-blended with just a slight flavoring from cucumber and asparagus; finally, just as I was about to finish, I was given that final kick of spice that finished it off in very nice fashion: not too hot, but just a nice, subtle transition, the same as the other flavours.

Ofcourse, Bonsai does not forget someone like me who is looking for a main course dinner to satisfy my hunger. The chef has put together a few Kobe beef-based items that are all outstanding. But if I had to pick just one, the Kobe beef short ribs are a choice I can’t go wrong with. The ribs are boneless and prepared so tenderly that I wondered how they stayed together on my plate, as at the first sign of my fork they began to fall apart.

This would not be a Japanese restaurant without some sake, and when I say some sake, I mean sake like has never been seen sake before. Bonsai has a vast assortment of sake, for me, I didn't have to worry because they also offer plenty of other more reasonable and tasty sake that kept me satisfied. Because it was sought of my first time giving sake a try, I went with sake tasting to let myself experience a variety of flavours. Of course sake is not for everyone, and there are a number of great drinks that are special to Bonsai. My favorite is the infusion martini. Not overly sweet, this libation is mixed with kai lychee blueberry-infused vodka and a hint of citrus, a great way to start the evening.

Not that I needed an excuse other than the food to visit Bonsai, but the fact that I heard Bonsai has a good setting is not a bad bonus. Bonsai is a lovely place for a romantic evening.

The most surprising thing about Bonsai, other than the pop rocks, is the cost. For a restaurant in Victoria Island with such a stunning view, I found it is one of the more reasonable restaurants on the strip. The other noteworthy part of Bonsai is the service: not only was the entire staff friendly and always on top of things, but my waiter, knew the menu up and down and every recommendation he made was stellar.

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