What I like most about Bento is that your meal is contained within a cute compartmentalised box, making it a fun and different way to eat. The name itself translates to ‘picnic’ and Buddha-Bar, in Knightsbridge; known for their Pan-Asian cuisine, has recently added a very decadent ‘Buddha Bento’ to its repertoire.
Bento is more often than not, already made up for you, but here you can pick and choose between starters and main dishes to create your own Bento mix. The Bento is very elegantly served – not in the usual box shaped container – but on slate with the individual dishes on top.
My Bento is a mix of Tempura Prawns and Wok Fried Beef, and my friend Issy has the Duck Salad and Five Spiced Barbecued Chicken. All Bento’s are served with Miso Soup, Wakame Salad and a choice of Steamed Rice of Buddha-Bar Noodles – we both choose the Buddha-Bar Noodles.
The Wok Fried Beef is nicely cooked in a sweet, sticky, teriyaki style sauce. Nuts are liberally sprinkled throughout adding crunch, with nicely cooked vegetables that have a bit of bite to them providing a lovely texture overall. My only niggle is that it’s a tad too oily, but all flavours were there and well balanced.
The namesake noodles have generously sized mushrooms in that provide a meaty texture, which is earthy with little flecks of sesame running through it. The last dish is the Prawn Tempuras, which are crisp and plump with a sweet, dark – but light tasting – soy sauce mix. I say the last dish, but I ate it all together, which is the great thing with Bento’s – eat it whichever way you like.
My friend enjoyed her Bento lamenting that the Miso Soup is the best she’s ever had, and I concur, they have set the bar with that one. The bar is raised further with the desserts; a Chocolate Caramel and Salted Sesame is a rich mix of heady dark chocolate tempered with a crunchy sesame seed top and a nutty, slightly burnt sauce that works amazingly well. Issy’s Pandan Steamed Pudding is just as glorious and very much like an Asian version of a sponge pudding – comfortingly nice.
If you are in the area to shop in all the fancy outlets then you deserve a fancy bite and the Buddha-Bar is a classy, stylish place to go. The Buddha Bento is more expensive than your average bento, but then its quality is well above average with excellent service to match. The Bento menu is available every day for lunch from 12pm – 2.30pm and for pre-theatre dining from 5.30pm – 6.30pm, priced at £27 (desserts from £7.50).
Food I Fancy dined as a guest.
London SW1X 7PA
Tel: 020 3667 5222