*I dined as a guest at Bon Kura, however all opinions are my own.
I was kindly invited to dine at Bon Kura in Dickson by owner Bonnie, who originally wanted to name the place Sakura but the name was taken so Bon Kura it was! Not to be outdone, there are pictures of the sakura hung along the walls. Bon Kura opened about a month ago replacing Grill and Sizzle Fusion. Serving Japanese food, the menu is plentiful (an A3 sized menu with items on the back and front) so there should be something to please everyone. The restaurant is as large as I remember but now with wooden slats in the middle sectioning off certain areas for more privacy.
Bonnie brought out a selection of popular dishes to try. First up was the tofu and avocado salad (usually $12.80) with plenty of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion. I loved the homemade Goma dressing which was tangy with a hint of mustard in it. I felt that there wasn’t enough tofu to be called a tofu and avocado salad. V and I were often trying to dig through the greens to find the tofu. Bonnie has taken the suggestion on board.
A mixture of sashimi was brought out next with tuna, salmon, clam and scallop sashimi. Sitting on a bed of ice, I liked the presentation of this dish. No complaints about the quality of sashimi. The scallop was my favourite – soft, smooth and perfect, closely followed by the tuna. The clam was a little tough, though I must admit I’ve never tried clam sashimi before, so I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a tougher texture. Assorted sashimi platters range from $9.80 to $42.80 depending on the type of sashimi and number of pieces served.
Bonnie brought out the salt grilled sanma (usually $18.80) for us to try. Sanma is a popular fish representing Autumn in Japanese cuisine. This sanma had been carefully gutted and its skin was nice and crispy. There was a multitude of small bones so you need to tackle it carefully. I found the sanma a tad dry but I really liked the slight saltiness. There’s a dipping bowl of soy sauce and a wedge of lemon on the side to intensify the flavour. Tasty but so many little bones! Great if you have the patience to pick out the bones and chew slowly in case you missed one. You have been warned.
The unagi cheese sushi roll (usually $14.80) is not something I would usually order. I don’t know why, but for some reason, the thought of eel just doesn’t do it for me. V tells me it tastes just like normal fish and it does. Just slightly different. Four thick slices of the sushi roll come out with melted rectangles of cheese on top that had been grilled, sprinkled with dried seaweed and sesame seeds.
The roll is stuffed with cottage cheese and egg with plenty of rice wrapped around it. I was really surprised at how tasty this combination turned out to be. The eel had been marinated in something and it was very delicate and silky smooth. The two cheeses added a stronger personality to the roll but did not overpower the eel. A nice balance between what could be two intense flavours.
The baby clams in sake broth (usually $18.80) is again not something I’d usually order. There were plenty of baby clams (most had fallen to the bottom of the bowl so take advantage of the ladle). The sake broth was unusual and I can’t really describe it – it had been stewed with ginger and perhaps some cloves and white pepper. The sake wasn’t prominent.
The seafood udon (usually $17.80) comes served with waving bonito flakes on top and dried seaweed. I love thick udon noodles and this did not disappoint. There were a couple of prawns and squid in this dish tossed in a creamy sweet sauce. We were pretty full by this stage but we both managed to finish the whole thing! Yum.
The gyoza (usually $8.80) came out last in a serve of four. These pan fried pork dumplings are handmade by the chef. Bonnie tells me they are extremely popular and the restaurant sells roughly 600 of these a week. Stuffed with shredded cabbage, onion and pork mince, I liked these plump juicy gyoza. The bottoms were slightly charred just the way I like it.
V and I were ready to leave when Bonnie gave us some dessert options. I nearly said no to dessert. Shock horror! But I came to my senses and decided to try the taiyaki (usually $8.80) which is a Japanese fish-shaped cake filled with sweetened azuki red bean, served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. The taiyaki is about the size of my whole hand and was drizzled in caramel sauce. The texture is like that of a waffle. Because it was served cold, it came off a little dry and dense. I would much prefer it freshly made and served hot like a waffle with warm red bean inside. The vanilla ice cream was my favourite component of this dessert. I could actually see the vanilla bean throughout and it was thick and creamy. Now that’s proper gelato! Bonnie tells me the ice creams are from Japan along with all the sauces used at the restaurant.
I’m told the chef has several years of experience under his belt, cooking Japanese food in Hong Kong before coming to Australia. I like that the restaurant keeps things authentic by sourcing several items used in dishes straight from Japan. Prices are reasonable and there is so much to choose from!
Value for money 8/10
FPJ score 25.5/30
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