Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tres Bien (well.. sort of..)

So I'm at my computer surrounded by a mess of clothes, clutter all over my desk and my bed is so messy. Instead of doing something about it, I'm blogging. I've even left my boyfriend sitting on my bed with nothing to do. I'm addicted. 

The proud graduand
Yesterday was my cousin, Jacky's, graduation. As in Chinese tradition, it was up to him to take his guests (his girlfriend, Jenny, and me) out for a meal. He'd treated the whole family to a lovely dinner two weeks ago, but I was n00b back then and didn't take photos so you'll have to trust me that it was delicious.

Look! I found their website!

Because it was graduation day, parking in town was horrendous! We ended up walking 15 minutes to our destination: Bien -a cute Japanese restaurant tucked away on Mount St in Auckland City. I'm quite surprised I've never noticed it before as it is opposite O'Rourke Hall (Auckland uni halls of residence) which I used to frequent in first year.

Ever since stumbling upon this, I prejudge all Japanese restaurants by the quality of their chopsticks -are they generic takeaway store ones or nice ones you'd have at home? The ones at Bien were somewhere in between -disposable, but there was none of that annoying splintering business. First test = pass.

There was also catchy J-pop playing in the background which reminded me of the DDR games I used to play. Second test = pass.

Unsuspecting sushi waitress
Bien has a great variety of meals to choose from ranging from donburi and udon to many different types of sushi. All quite reasonable prices for lunch. 

We started off with Takoyaki -octopus balls. It is a very popular Japanese dumpling made of batter,  baby octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion, topped with okonomiyaki sauce, ponzu, mayonnaise, green laver (aonori), and katsuobushi (fish shavings). These are a personal favourite of mine -I can't go to a Japanese meal without a serving of good ol' octopus balls!

I had originally meant to get this as my meal but, because they looked so good, I was made to share and get another meal..

Kitsune Udon (half)

I wasn't feeling particularly hungry so I ordered a half serving of the Kitsune Udon which is thick Japanese noodles with sweet bean curd with soup. The soup really clear and simple which went really well with the sweet bean curd. 

Chicken Katsu Don (half)
Jenny ordered the Chicken Katsu Don which, I must admit, didn't look very appetising to me (I didn't take a very good photo either.. oops). The dish included deep fried chicken cutlets cooked with onion and egg on top of rice(you can also choose pork). Despite its appearance, it was delicious -the egg was full of flavour and the chicken still crunchy.

Chicken Katsu Curry

I'm a big fan of Japanese curry. Unlike Indian curry, it is mainly sweet. Jacky's dish tasted very generic -like store bought Japanese curry that you can heat at home and pour over rice. The portion size, however, was very generous.

How to eat sushi like a pro
Since I got the smallest meal, I had a good 10 minutes of sitting around while waiting for the others to finish. But it was OK, there were plenty of things to look at -like the best way to eat sushi!

Verdict? Nice -just like ALL the Japanese eateries I've been to so far. The food tasted nice, but there wasn't anything particularly special about it. It's certainly better than any of the food on uni campus though -so I'll definitely be back when semester starts next year!

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