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Thursday, 26 January 2012

Fusion Chapter 1. Verse 1. The Bonsai Restaurant

I know there's a lot of favourable reviews out there for this place. However I have to say I didn't enjoy the experience. I tried this restaurant a while back, a group of six of us went pretty early. One of the first tables there.

The interior decor is very urbane and gutted factory setting contrasted with what was suppose to be "fine dining" fusion food. The portion is similar to tapas selection, with mainly Japanese influences. It's a very novel concept in Perth as there's really nothing to fill what I perceived as a between cafe eatery and a fine dining fusion niche. I'm honestly not a fusion food fan. A lot of these re-inventions of flavour tend to just change the plating and decrease portion size in favour of earning an extra buck. This place? The seating wasn't very comfortable, the minimalist look is just that a 'look' the feel is not as comfortable or luxurious if you're looking for upscale dining.

We ordered a number of dishes, whose prices in actual Japanese restaurants would have been a bit less. Serving sizes generally does well for 4 - 6 people if you're only having bite sizes. Not very memorable meal menu over all, we had some sushi pieces with 'inventive' fillings and artistic saucing (mayo/spicy), a scallop dish (6 pcs of scallops), some gyoza dumpling combo and some other cooked noodles or something. However each dish is priced between $14-$22, so it makes it for an expensive night out especially without drinks. Spent about 2 hours at $35 each without drinks and not even 1/2 full by the end. Hate to say it but 3 of us seriously considered Maccer's after it. And that is a very bad sign.

Staff was nice, but slightly monosyllabic. Maybe they're going for a haute style. Service level was not as attentive considering it wasn't very packed out and it's marketing position as a 'fine dining' or higher dining. The food came out a bit slow, especially considering most of it was 'cold' dishes. This might mean that everything we ordered was freshly made, but that somehow just doesn't seem like the case considering how cold the sushi rice was.

Oh I nearly forgot, there's also a cafe counter fridge with Asian-Western style desserts, cakes & coffee. I mean A-W because, the presentation looked like Francois cakes, tastes a bit like the old Cakes Unlimited / Mozart / Utopia, faux-creme cakes. Combo price is average cafe price but I must say the coffee prepared was on the bad side.

Still majority rules in the votes and many people have tried and liked it. Personally I prefer honest hearty food and portion sized as opposed to cold glitz and pretense at classy fusion. I have been recommended to go try this again, I'm just not sure if I can stomach it. If you liked it, then that's cool. Don't diss my review, personal experience was bad. If you had a fantastic experience and would like to tout it - let me know and I might go back and review again.

Vote: 1 out of 5 Stars

It wasn't photo worthy.

The Bonsai Restaurant Cafe & Lounge on Urbanspoon


  1. Yeah need to comment after reading through. I'm going to just post it here since i don't want to put 3 in on separate pages.

    Why are you complaining about the price here (when its only $35) compared to Izakaya Sakura? Also what else did you expect? Places like here aren't exactly the cheapest. Its just Perth in general. Also i had the Function A menu for my 21st recently and it was fantastic. $55 + $5 for dessert and i was full. Even my friends who have fairly large stomachs were full (except the one who didn't eat seafood haw haw). Try one of the function menus if you can.

    For the Izakaya Sakura review, how about separating food and alcohol so its easier to determine how much you spent on each. Which place is cheaper for izakaya? I'm curious. Oh and if you say Ha-Lu i will prepare my best scoff.

    And 5/5 for Tong 86? Really? Don't get me wrong its a good place, great value but there's nothing special about it. It doesn't have that wow factor. It does easy, simple food 'well' (they aren't doing the cooking) but its not 5/5 worthy.

    1. Sorry for the delayed response. I always forget to check Comments section - not a good blogging mindset. I think it's for the content that was provided. At the time I think the comparison for me was between Jun Izakaya and this. Yes I know it's very different considering the autheticity vs fusion issue.

      Sakura alcohol was really not that much, we may have had two drinks each. For an izakaya meal that's very little. So I'd vote for Jun. But that might not match up to your expectations of what a restaurant dining experience may be. As it's slightly dingy, in a basement, and the waitstaff may speak a spattering of English with Japanese accents.

      I like Tong86 because of the feel and shared easy preparation of food at a relatively ok price. Prices have gone up here, and Hwa-ro does a better offering, slightly more cramped spaces.