Saturday, 8 October 2011

Vegan MoFo - Restaurant Review: Bonsai

I'm late writing this because I had a horrible allergy attack this afternoon and had to take some pills (and then a 5-hour nap).

We went to Bonsai Bar Bistro (caution:  non-vegan stuff on the home page, and it plays music!) for lunch this afternoon.  We've been going to Bonsai for a few years now.  We're pretty sure it's the first place we ever had a meal out.  We were with the uni sci-fi society, which actually had some vegans in it, so it was pretty easy to learn what was OK for us to eat (though Mike wasn't yet vegan at the time).  We've been going somewhat regularly ever since.

I'm the type of person who is very set in her ways.  I like to establish patterns and stick to them.  Yeah, we'll check out a new place, and we'll try a few things if we decide we like it.  But once I've tried all the vegan stuff on the menu, I pretty much stick to ordering the same thing every time.  So, every time we go to Bonsai, I order the same things - yakisoba (fried noodles with veg), inari (sushi rice wrapped in fried bean curd sheets), and agedashi tofu (breaded tofu in a soupy sauce).  Mike tends to order miso soup, takuan maki (pickled radish), and either plain or seasoned rice.  And it's not necessarily for a lack of options - we just prefer those things.

So, as per usual, I got what I always get.  I tend to eat the agedashi tofu with the yakisoba.  Both were good, but there was something not quite right about the tofu.  I couldn't really put my finger on it - it was still good, but not as good as usual.  The yakisoba was still great, though.  I tend to eat my inari last because it has a bit of sweetness from the sushi rice.  I love the combination of sweet and salty, so I always dip my inari in a bit of soy sauce.  It's like a relatively healthy dessert (if fried bean curd sheets count as healthy).  I can't really comment on Mike's food because I didn't try it, but he liked it.

As I said, those aren't the only vegan options.  They actually have quite a few, but mine are limited because they use avocado in most of the sushi.  They also serve French fries, which seems incongruous for a Japanese restaurant, but they're actually really good.  They're sprinkled with coarse sea salt and served with a sauce that definitely has soy sauce in it, but other than that I can't place the flavours.  It's amazingly good, though.

Oh, I should also mention that they do a reward scheme - a stamp for every £10 spent, and after 5 stamps you get 20% off.  The prices are pretty good, so we usually manage to eat pretty well for around £20, and then we get 2 stamps, so we get 20% off about every 3 meals, which is a damn good deal.  It's obviously a place I'd recommend.  The only person we've taken there who hasn't liked it was my grandpa.  There's something there for everyone ... except my grandpa.

I apologise once again for the lack of photos.  I hope to go camera shopping tomorrow (would've done it today if not for the bloody allergies) and be back in the photo-taking game soon.

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