The food at Bento-ya Japanese restaurant along Sheikh Zayed Road was authentic enough for my taste, but I must say the toilet is the one that made my experience an unforgettable one. Come for the food AND the toilet.
If talking about toilets makes you uncomfortable, I discourage you to read on…
After all those raves about fellow bloggers about magic meatballs, value-for-money bento boxes and perfectly grilled beef short-rib slivers, I knew that Bento-ya was the perfect place to get my Katsucurry fix. Even in the Philippines, there are a few places that do justice for this Japanese favorite of mine. I was grateful to have Lian, an ex-colleague whose Dubai-based family has been loyal patrons of this Japanese restaurant for years, as my Bento-ya dinner partner. I liked the fact that I was with somebody who knew her way around the restaurant.
While we were waiting for the Bento-ya doors to open as we arrived earlier that the 630PM opening time, Lian whispered “You must try their toilet…” To which I answered with a puzzled look. “What’s so special about their toilet?” I asked. Of course, if the toilet received such glowing recommendations, so there must be a good reason why.
“It’s just soooo Japanese. I still am not used to using the toilet even if I’ve been going to Bentoya for years. I always get startled when I use the loo.” I could not shake off the thought of the unique toilet experience Bento-ya could bring even as my long awaited katsucurry bowl was set in front of me. But I didn’t feel an urge to go to the toilet just yet and so we ate.
Unlike the original katsucurry, which is made with Tonkatsu pork cutlet hammered until tender to the bite, this one was made with beef Tonkatsu (You can opt for one made of chicken cutlet). It was a pleasant surprise that I was able to cut through the deep fried beef cutlet, which is usually tough as rubber when deep fried, using my spoon.
Then I took a spoonful of the Japanese curry, a hearty hazel sweet and spicy stew packed with melt-in-your-mouth beef fibers and al dente potato chunks. Mmmmmm…almost perfect. Almost.
I lifted a crispy, tender slice as the pristine bed of Japanese rice, glistening under the incandescent lighting of the restaurant. The rice must be perfect for Bento-ya to pass the authenticity test as Japanese rice is highly revered, which in my opinion is the best white rice in the entire world. The rice was indeed Japanese with a clean taste as it brushed on my tongue, but it was slightly undercooked with a bite in the middle of the virginal grains.
I guess this means that Bento-ya needed a second chance, or rather, I just found myself another excuse to visit the restaurant again.
Lian’s karubidon left her disappointed as well with the tough, well-done beef discs. She says it was better to order the grilled karubi instead, so that’s the second reason to visit again. There were other worthy sounding desserts as well like green tea tofu cheesecake. The tempura ice cream was a letdown with hardly any ice cream, overly thick breading and a mountain of whipped cream. I enjoy whipped cream, but I wanted more ice cream. The fish and shrimp mayoyaki, addictive deep fried morsels of breaded fish and shrimp drenched in a Japanese mayonnaise dressing, creamy yet not cloying, was reason enough to warrant another visit too.
Finally, I felt a tingle and it was time to go to the toilet..with my camera in tow. I just had to document what the fuss was all about.
Lo and behold, the toilet raised its seat its without me lifting a finger. It had a bloody sensor! Plus it had its own control panel! Leave it to the Japanese to automate the most random things. There it was the toilet of all toilets with all the bells and whistles: a button for the basic flush, a button for rear cleansing, a button for a softer, gentler rear cleansing, a button for front cleansing (for the ladies) and a button for a DRYER. You could even control the oscillating, pulsating and rinse cycle of the toilet’s bidet. Ohmygawd! My bottom wiggled with glee on the toilet seat as the warm air did its magic. Ahhhhh…I think the magical toilet added another reason for me to drop by Bento-ya again.
Anybody care to share the magical Japanese toilet experience with me?
Bento-ya Japanese restaurant
Al Kawakeb Bldg along Sheikh Zayed Road
near the Financial Center Dubai Metro Stop, past the new Emirates Grand Hotel building
Telephone no. +9714-3430222
Visit their website: http://www.bentoya.info/
Timings: 12NN to 3PM, 630 PM to 1130PM
Delirious about delicious,