I’ve recently had two very satisfying, tasty and cheap Japanese lunches in Dublin for only €10 apiece. Anyone who’s a fan of Japanese food will be familiar with bento boxes: compartmentalised lunch boxes containing a variety of snacks, arranged in the aesthetically appealing way we expect from Japanese cuisine.
A couple of weeks ago, I tried the lunch bento in Yamamori. I usually go for their very good lunch salad dish, but was tempted by the spicy chicken stew that was included in the bento. I was happily surprised by the small mountain of delicious food that was served up to me in Yamamori’s bento. The chicken stew was a very simple broth with chicken, potatoes and vegetables. It was almost like something my Granny would have made, except she probably wouldn’t have included red chillies, which gave it a lovely spicy edge. There was also some sushi, some tasty sesame tuna pieces (although the tuna was a bit overcooked) and white rice and miso on the side. It was an excellent lunch, perfect for a cold day.
The other test of a great warming lunch is of course a hangover. With one safely in hand last weekend, I headed to Sushi King on Dawson St to try their ‘Bit of Everything’ lunch, also for €10. It’s a little different from the Yamamori bento: instead of miso, I opted for Thai Tom Yam soup, which was simple and delicious and which woke me right up. The bento comes with two pieces of sushi, some excellent gyoza dumplings and a small portion of one of the main menu’s hot dishes. I had a small piece of salmon teriyaki, which was perfectly cooked and came in a delicious honey-infused sauce. Some seaweed made up the green veg portion of a really good meal.
Lunch bentos in Yamamori and Sushi King: both highly recommended. It seems like that which I have longed for has finally arrived: good quality, affordable Japanese food. As they said in the inspirational movie Field of Dreams, “if you whinge and bitch about it for long enough, they will come.”