The Wembley Square residential development and shopping centre in Gardens may not be a place where you expect to find exquisite Asian and sushi fusion cuisine.
However, among a gym and wellness centre there is a gem that foodies will be happy to discover.The beautifully decorated space is made up of eye-catching pops of green, dark wooden floor, hidden LED lights and Robin Sprong bespoke wallpaper.
I was invited to visit Ben Wei, meaning “original taste” last week for dinner, where a friend and I were treated to several courses that left us with satisfied bellies.
Our host and manager Bryn Roberts started us off with several entrées which included a Tuna Tataki ( spiced and seared tuna) and chicken deep-fry crispy wontons. It’s worth mentioning that both dishes come beautifully plated which is a plus for your Instagram foodie posts.
The entrées were followed by a sushi platter made-up of Salmon Roses and baiting friendly bamboo rolls (cucumber wrapped salmon, ginger, tuna and crab).
For mains, we had a spicy beef and vegetable wok dish (this was my highlight), Chow Mei and a fried egg rice dish. We washed down the dishes with a refreshing original Thai beer Singha, Sapporo, one of the oldest beer brands in Japan, and the Japanese rice wine sake.
Another highlight was the dessert of deep fried ice cream, a crisp biscuit that oozes warm ice cream once bitten into made for a sensational finale to a great meal.
The ambiance is relaxed and the background music makes for a cosy backdrop to date night or a meal with friends.
Ben Wei is owned by chef Jim Dai and entrepreneur Ian McMahon, and is open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.
McMahon is the mastermind behind the highly successful Crew Bar (still one of the most popular clubs in the Mother City after nine years), as well as MCQP (co-owner) - the biggest costume party in Africa.
Apart from a different spin on these familiar dishes made with the freshest fish and ingredients, the extensive, vintage designed menu includes Banting and vegetarian options.
Carefully selected wines are available to complement any order and satisfy the most distinguished palates.
Think sushi or Asian food, and be pleasantly surprised.
Apart from the extensive sushi offering, other highlights include Miso or Tom Kha Gai soups, salads like the Tuna Tataki salad, peanut chicken satay and Panko calamari (starters). Mains include curries (Ben Wei red curry and Thai green curry), spicy beef, beef and oyster sauce stir fry, or wok fried Douchi (beef or chicken). Desserts range from deep fried ice cream or banana to dessert drinks such as Kahlua coffee and Dom Pedro.
The menu is reasonably priced despite the outstanding food and fun, vibey atmosphere, and although walk-ins are welcomed, making a booking is recommended. So if it is for a sweet and sour chicken, a plate of sushi or even a glass of Wembley Square brewed Stone Circle Weiss draught beer, make a booking (e-mail [email protected], or call 021 461 2966).
* Connect with Ben Wei conversation on Facebook (BenWei), Instragram (Benweisushi) and Twitter (@BenWeiSushi)