Bento makes me happyPosted: June 27, 2012
So last night I met one of my good friends for tea and we went to one of my favourite local restaurants, which just happens to be around the corner from my house, hurrah! The restaurant, Yakisoba in Chorlton, is a Japanese restaurant with some other oriental dishes on the menu too. Yakisoba is a great place for a mid-week meal as its relaxed informal atmsphere makes you feel like you’re just sat around in your extended dining room with friends (or maybe that’s just because I visit so often!) Everyone I have taken to Yakisoba has enjoyed it, infact, the last time my parents visited, they asked if they could eat there on both the Friday and Saturday night! Quite an endorsement! The food is really tasty and, one of my favourite things about Japanese, really clean, fresh and light tasting. You get good sized portions and the prices are really reasonable. So, all in all, pretty good!
I’ve been to Yakisoba many times in the year since I’ve lived in Chorlton, but decided as I have this new blog that I would write about it after visiting last night. As my friend and I got comfy we ordered some green tea, seeing as it was a school night early on in the week! They also serve a very refreshing Japanese beer, Kirin which makes for a nice drink if you’re feeling the need for something alcoholic! Yakisoba has a brilliantly varied menu and I have tried many things off it, although do have a handful of firm favourites from which it is difficult to deviate from as they are so tasty and satisfying!
Some of my loved and trusted favourites include the ginger and wasabi chicken – which has the slightly odd inclusion of sun dried tomatoes, but aside from that a lovely fresh, healthy feeling dish with perfectly balanced flavours – the wasabi doesn’t overpower! Also the ‘crispy puffy sea bass’ which comes with a really delicious spicy fruity punzu sauace – a proper punch in the mouth of flavour. Another Yakisoba Big Hitter for me is the slow cooked Chinese style beef. So, not Japanese, but oh so tasty! This dish comes to the table with its own little flame underneath to keep the delicious Chinese spice flavoured sauce bubbling away. The beef is absolutely melt-in-the-mouth and comes with loads of delicious seasonal greens. I loved this dish from the moment the steam rising off the flame-hovering dish wafted over my face the first time I ordered it! Divine.
Back to last night. When I eat in a group of bigger people, I love to order the steamed dumplings mixed platter to share around. Sticky little globes of different shapes promising a delicious mouthful as soon as you bite into them. The platter includes a good selection of meat, prawn and veggie fillings and comes with dips and Japanese pickles. As it was just the two of us, we felt this would be a little excessive and so settled with ordering some pork siu mai dumplings to share.
These pork and prawn filled dumplings managed to be both meaty and light at the same time and came with sweet chilli dipping sauce and, my favourite, a sort of coriander soy which I think also has a little crushed garlic and shallot in it. I need to try and create at home as it is so moreish!
One of the best things about Yakisoba is that along with your main, you get a bento box. A bento box is a Japanese lunch box with lots of little compartments to put your different foods in. A traditional Japanese bento box would probably consist of fish or meat, some rice, and some pickled vegetables.
The prawn crackers (really-prawny!) are great to nibble on with the leftover sweet chilli sauce while awaiting your main course. The little salad, which has more of that corriander-soy type dip on it as a dressing, is great to refresh your palate between courses. I’m yet to figure out what the yummy broth is, despite asking everyone I’ve eaten here with. Lots of people have suggested miso, but I’m not sure that it is… Whatever it is, it has a lovely gentle peppery heat which builds at the back of your mouth as you eat it and has mushrooms and tofu in it. I must say I was a little disappointed that the little middle compartment of the box, which normally includes some fantastic sesame covered honeyed cashews had been filled with a little smoked salmon instead. Hhmm. The fruit was also missing the usual juicy melon slice, but is a nice refreshing way to end your meal.
Moving on the mains, my friend ordered one of my other all time Yakisoba favourites, the teriyaki fillet steak. Despite having eaten it numerous times, and having ordered the tasty yaki udon noodles for myself, I definitely had food-envy when it arrived.
The delicious succulent meat is covered in an irresistibly-sticky teriyaki sauce and sprinkled liberally with sesame seeds and coriander for a bit of lift. It’s served with perfectly cooked fluffy steamed white rice. Seriously good.
I ordered the yaki udon. I adore udon noodles and these were just as good udon noodles should be, thick and lipsmacking, glistening with sauce. The dish consisted of shredded fillet steak and loads of veggies including onions, peppers, shitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots in a lovely gingery sauce.
A very tasty and filling meal as I have come to expect at Yakisoba! Perhaps next time I’ll branch out and try another new dish. Just as long as no one else orders one of my top dishes and I’m struck with more terrible food-envy forcing me to solicit ‘just one more little taste’ from my dining partner!