Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Eki Bento, Maylands

I remember back in my younger school days my Mum would pack my lunchbox daily usually filled with a  sandwich and fruit.  I also remember other kids used to get an assortment of tasty treats in their lunchboxes like cake and chocolate, things I never got no matter how much I asked - but I digress.  Anyway speaking of lunchboxes, the Japanese have this neat concept of bento boxes or wooden boxes (often with compartments) used to serve a meal - often at lunch but you can get them for dinner too.

Eki Bento (or Train Station Bento Box) is neatly located on the Whatley Crescent cafe strip in Maylands across from the train station.  I had seen this Japanese restaurant as I had walked by when I was having breakfast at the nearby cafes and told myself I had to give it a try.  Eventually one night I caught up with a friend who likes Japanese food and we decided to head over to Eki Bento.

Eki Bento is a relatively new Japanese restaurant that is set up with some almost quirky Japanese decorations giving it a casual Japanese feel.  Inside, there are wooden chairs and tables that provide ample seating when it doesn't get too busy.

After sitting down and receiving the menu you immediately notice the "Bento" on offer with quite a few Japanese favourites served either in those bento boxes or separately including teriyaki, katsu, sushi and sashimi.  However, tucked in amongst the largely Japanese menu are a few Korean dishes - mainly bibimbaps (rice bowl meals).  Rounding off the menu, there are a few entrees such as dumplings (gyoza) and octopus balls (takoyaki), and desserts such as green tea ice cream.

Fish Teriyaki Bento - $16.90

The fish teriyaki bento started off with a fish fillet on top of a bed of rice.  The fish, being a smooth and firm fish with a texture a bit like fish used in fish n chips, was lightly dusted and shallow fried.  It was then drenched in a teriyaki sauce, with a soy flavour that was slightly sweetened, thick and a tad sticky on the fish.  the sauce made its way through the fish and onto the rice to keep it tasting like teriyaki throughout.

Served in the fish teriyaki bento was a range of side dishes - though each of the main courses appeared to come with similar sides.  On the tray with the teriyaki fish was a salad, with garden salad type lettuce leaves, tomato and cabbage dressed in a sweetened and a little grainy (giving it texture) vinaigrette.  Also on the tray were pickled ginger and wasabi.

On a second tray that was neatly laid beside the main course tray was a pork gyoza with lightly seasoned pork mince mixture inside a thin pastry, half a panko-crumbed potato croquette with a smooth potato mixture inside (on its way to being a mash), and a panko-crumbed prawn.  All were deep fried, with the panko-crumbed katsu style potato and prawn being crunchy on the outside and drizzled with that sweet barbecue and Worcestershire sauce-like katsu sauce

Also on this tray was a piece of katsu prawn sushi, a piece of chicken sushi, and a prawn nigiri style sushi.  Despite being nothing special or of particular note, all the sushi were well made, held together well and tasted relatively fresh.  Finishing off this tray was a fruit salad, with a few slices of banana oddly left in its skin (perhaps for presentation), not-completely-ripe honeydew, and a wedge of orange.

Chicken Katsu Bento - $17.90

This katsu chicken bento was a little more like a "katsudon" type of meal.  The crumbed chicken katsu featured in this dish, but it had been further cooked with omelette and a soy based sauce.  Notably lacking (due to the cooking process) was a crispy crumbed katsu, but instead this was replaced with tender chicken more flavoursome than any normal katsu chicken that I usually get.  The chicken had been heavily infused with the sauce with its slightly sweetened but otherwise strong soy flavour.

Though I'm not sure that I would really consider this what I normally expect for a katsu chicken, it was a very tasty katsudon style chicken dish.

Similar sides were served with this main course dish.

The tea was made with a real tea mixture (as opposed to powder) and served in some nice Japanese decor.

We liked: Great infused flavours in the bento boxes for this level of Japanese food (i.e. casual).

We didn't like: A few oddities in the menu - namely katsu chicken bento coming out more like katsudon (but it was tasty nonetheless)

Other things to note: Though mainly Japanese, there are some Korean dishes on offer; specialises in relatively quick bento box meals and sushi/sashimi; there are cheaper and lighter lunch bento options available; dine in or takeaway

Eki Bento
180 Whatley Crescent
(08) 6161 6573

Trading Hours
7 days - 11am to 9pm

Eki Bento on Urbanspoon

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