Mark did a sweet gesture on my birthday. He woke me up at exactly 12 midnight and we both welcomed my birthday with these two cakes. :D
He also went off from work to spend the whole day with me. Our schedules are crazy and heaven knows how I've been dying to spend even a little time with Mark, so this gesture really meant a lot to me. Apart from the cakes and gifts that he showered me on that day, his time was the best gift that I received.
He also took charge of how we'll spend the day, which he rarely does, by the way, so this another great gift haha! We went to St. Mary's Church after breakfast then headed to the Trade Centre Area for lunch.
Mark loves Japanese food, sushi, specifically, so I wasn't surprised when he chose Bentoya Kitchen. We arrived to an empty restaurant and chose a table just by the glass walls. There's nothing fancy with the ambience, but I love how everything is simple and unassuming. It has that old school coziness which is how authentic Japanese restaurants are. They have an upstairs dining area and a Manga comics rack at the far end of the restaurant, which I believe they allow for customers to read though while dining.
|My Birthday Lunch! :D|
The menu had a fairly good selection of authentic Japanese food. Mark went for a bento box, while I opted for a rice bowl. We also had sushi and salad for appetizers, and ginger ale for the drinks.
|Ginger Ale - AED 8.00|
Bentoya's Kani Salad is a simple medley of shredded crab meat and lettuce with Japanese mayo dressing and a generous serving of fish roe. It was good, though I must admit that I've tried better versions. I found it a bit lacking with texture and I think a little chunkiness from fresh cucumbers and ripe mangoes would do the trick.
|Kani Salad - AED 33.00|
Deviating from all the flamboyant sushi which sprouted like mushrooms in Dubai, Bentoya's sushi selections were kept plain and simple. The Lobster Wasabi Maki came in eight medium rolls of marinated lobster meat with Tobiko in wasabi flavor.
The lobster meat tasted fresh with a subtle sweetness; the Tobiko and wasabi added that beautiful zing. The only thing that Mark and I noticed was how dull the sushi was rolled—it was loose with rice bits falling off. It was hard eating it with chopsticks as it easily breaks apart.
Two generous slabs of pan-fried salmon with teriyaki sauce were the stars of the bento were the stars of the Shake Teriyaki Bento. The sweet, salty, and tangy sauce was perfect with the flaky salmon. The salmon didn't have that fishy aftertaste at all, which is a plus. It also came with white rice and sides of fish balls, tofu, and grilled fish.
Knowing how Mark eats more of the viands than rice, I initially thought the bento box won't be enough for him. But he said it was actually filling, he even got to share a fish ball and grilled fish with me.
|Shake Teriyaki Bento - AED 57.00|
The bento was a hit but my Katsudon didn't come far behind. When Mark and I were still dating, we'd frequent this Japanese restaurant in the Philippines and I'd always order Katsudon. I haven't had Katsudon for the longest time, so I was all giddy when my order was served.
|Katsudon - AED 47.00|
Since pork is not served in most restaurants here in Dubai, Bentoya's Katsudon is made with a choice of chicken or beef. I chose the latter. Although I'd still prefer the pork version, the deep-fried beef with egg was also good. It was tender and I can taste the flavorful sauce in the beef in every bite.
Digging into the bowl, you'll get veggies that still had that crunch and rice drenched in the sauce. It also came in a generous serving, that I had to let Mark finish it off. It was so good. I'd love it more if the sauce was a little sweeter though. :D
|Katsudon - AED 47.00|
Serving no-frills authentic Japanese dishes at a reasonable price, it wasn't that hard falling in love with Bentoya Kitchen. As our lunch progressed, I noticed how diners, who were mostly Japanese, started coming—a proof that Bentoya serves authentic Japanese food.
Al Kawakeb Building
Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre Area
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 (0)4 343 0222
All photos were taken with an iPhone 6S Plus.