Bonzai in Nottingham is a Japanese Restaurant located at 11-13 Carlton Street that seems to specialise in sushi and noodles.
I am not so experienced in the old Sushi but I do love a good bowl of noodles, so when we found ourselves wandering around in need of food late one midweek evening, after several pints of beer down Broadway it seemed to be a good idea to pop in.
We had a decent sized group so we were picking all sorts off the menu, and the fact that some of us had not eaten all day and that it was pretty much closing time, meant that we ended up with a fair range off the menu.
So we piled in, ordered beer and a whole lot of food, what did we order?
Bonzai Mixed Platter
The Bonzai Mixed Platter was a tray of little nibbles that was supposed to be a starter for sharing, but this ended up being someone’s main course. ‘Chicken skewers, king prawn tempura, curry samosas, gyoza, vegetable spring rolls with dipping sauce’.
The best bits on the platter were the little potstickers, the tempura prawns, and those chicken skewers which were like a little bit of chicken satay without the dipping sauce.
To be honest after an evening drinking beer this is probably a good choice as your tastebuds might not be in a fit state to appreciate the nuances of a decent plate of food.
The most interesting dish we ate at Bonzai was the one with freshwater eel, or to give it the correct name; Unagi Don. This is described as ‘Kabayaki Eel Fillet with Teriaki Sauce’. The name is a bit confusing as I understood that both kabayaki and teriyaki were two different yet similar styles of cooking. I had read that Kabayaki is prepared by splitting the fish, in this case eel along the back, gutting, boning, and basically butterflying. Then it is dipped or basted in a sauce of soy, mirin, and sugar, before grilling it. Whereas Teriaki is a grilling with a glaze made with basically soy sauce, mirin, sugar and saki. Is it just me or is that the same thing?
OK does it matter? what you end up with is a bowl of white rice topped with Eel fillets that are coated in a thick sweet glaze. It was surprisingly good, so tasty that everyone at the table wanted to try it and the poor person that ordered it ended up having to make do with bites of other peoples dishes that perhaps were not as good.
So the lesson of the day was ‘if you are clever and choose something really good and THEN offer a taste to everyone else, well what do you expect? ‘Harsh but I was just so jealous! ps I am getting this dish next time I visit!
Chicken and Coconut Soup
I am not sure what was in this soup, all I can say was that it was a Thai Style Hot and Sour soup with Coconut and Chicken. It was spicy and kind of Moreish, but not enough to make me want to eat, drink, or slurp the whole bowl. I could have done with a bowl about half this size.
Some sort of vegetable noodle soup
I cannot remember the name of this bowl of Soup noodles, and to be honest I am not sure that it was actually on the menu. One of our party who was vegetarian just wanted a bowl of broth with noodles, so this was what arrived. It was really good, the broth was clear and basically was packed with a punch of flavour most notably ginger and soy.
The noodles were cooked just right and seemed easy to slurp up from the bowl. Lip smackingly good! was the verdict
Two of our group went for the Noodles at Bonzai which was essentially a kind of mix and match scenario where you basically chose what you wanted, the noodles, the protein, and maybe a sauce of some sort. The best option chosen was a kind of Beef noodle soup with mixed vegetables. The broth was pretty good and there was plenty of beef and thin noodles in the bowl. However just like the soup I had this seemed to be a lot of effort to eat.
One of our number, the so called vegetarian (who also eats fish) had the Sushi. It looked pretty and that is all I have to say about that.
We had a pretty decent meal here, and even though we were like the dregs of town coming in at the end of the night and the service, we were greeted warmly and treated really well.
If you like a bowl of noodles then this might be a good option, but I am no expert on Japanese food so all I can say was that we liked most of what we ate.
Bonzai is located at 11-13 Carlton Street in Nottingham, on your way down into Hockley.
11 -13 Carlton Street
11 -13 Carlton Street