Banyi Japanese is located on Bedford Row in Temple bar. Honestly, I tend not to go to restaurants in Temple Bar that often because I see them as overpriced and a bit gimmicky. However, Banyi Japanese doesn’t fall into either of those categories. I’ve had sushi delivered from Banyi Japanese a handful of times and have never been disappointed. A friend of mine had mentioned going there with a Groupon deal and raved about it but at that stage, the Groupon deal had finished. As soon as I saw it available again I bought it and arranged to go on a Monday evening.
The place was packed. Not what I was expecting for a Japanese restaurant on a Monday night. I’ve never been in a restaurant which had such friendly and helpful staff. Every single one of them had smiles from ear to ear which really gave the place a great atmosphere.
The Groupon deal, available here, is a four-course Japanese set menu for two with cocktails and tea/coffee for 45e. For what you get it’s absolutely incredible value. To start we were given a plate of edamame bean and an aperitif each. A choice of Verdejo Frizzante or Red Lantern.
The four courses include an amuse-bouche, starter, main course and dessert. The choices were as follows:
Agedashi tempura tofu served in sweet soy and radish sauce
Sunomono Japanese seafood seaweed salad
Aburi Nigiri selection of 2 flamed sushi
Beef Tataki slightly seared fillet steak slices served with chefs ponzu sauce
Yaki Tori Japanese chicken skewers
Gyoza pan-fried chicken dumpling
Fish Cake Furai deep-fried fish cake croquettes
Special Combo Selection of 8pc Uramaki, 2 Sashimi and 2 Nigiri
Minty Seabass pan fried seabass served with minty miso paste
Teriyaki Fillet Beef pan-fried diced fillet beef served with chefs homemade Teriyaki sauce
Kakuni Japanese braised pork belly
Walnut & Banana Suponji sponge cake served with coffee ice cream
Matcha Fondant green tea fondant served with red bean ice cream
Mango Cheesecake served with pineapple sorbet
Blanc Manger Japanese style layer panna cotta with black sesame ice cream
For his amuse-bouche, LP had flamed sushi and I had the Japanese seafood salad. The salad consisted of Masago, squid and was something I’d never tried before but would definitely order again. The squid wasn’t chewy for those of you who are put off by that.
For starters, we had the dumplings and the fish cakes. The dumplings were the winner here. As you can see from the pictures, both portions were decent sizes.
For my main course, I had the seabass and LP had the sushi combo. Both dishes again were really big portions. LP’s sushi consisted of what I think was a prawn, avocado, asparagus roll with Masago and another prawn roll with cucumber. Salmon and tuna sashimi and salmon and tuna nigiri.
My seabass came with enough rice to feed a small village and a bowl of miso soup. I hate miso soup and I’d like to say this one changed my opinion of it but it didn’t. I still hate it! The fish, however, was one of the nicest pieces of fish I’ve had in a long time and the combination of mint and miso is gorgeous.
Dessert was the mango cheesecake for me and the panna cotta for LP. I loved my cheesecake. Mango cheesecake (actually any sort of mango dessert) is a winner for me. LP enjoyed his panna cotta but I honestly wasn’t a fan. I think it was the black sesame ice cream. I couldn’t get a great picture of the panna cotta but you get the idea.
I had thought I might want to order another sushi roll but by the end of the meal we were both stuffed. I would highly recommend getting the Groupon deal as it’s fantastic value. Even if you’re not a sushi fan or if the thoughts of raw fish make you heave there’s plenty of other dishes available to try.
Would I go back to Banyi Japanese? Absolutely. I’ll be going back to try their full menu.
What did I not like? Nothing. It’s fantastic value, the staff are the happiest staff I’ve ever seen and the food is exceptional.