I have the perfect spot for you to snuggle in this winter. This isn’t a restaurant about bean bags and hot chocolate, rather an inside hug. Warm, fresh, spicy food to keep your heart warm. If you’re already over slap chips and pizza this winter, Ben Wei is the answer.
Ben Wei is an eastern restaurant located in Wembley Square. When I was initially invited there, I was hesitant as I thought it was a sushi bar. I’m also not a fan of ‘mall restaurants’. But I was assured otherwise and accepted.
Parking easily at Wembley Square, I entered the building and saw Ben Wei glowing like a warm cave under stormy skies and was immediately drawn to the bustling little restaurant.
Why Should You Go To Ben Wei?
- Nice prices
- Have a few things to share (I love tapas style eating)
- Easy to park (I literally parked outside the wall and walked in)
- Efficient staff
- Good tasting food
- Great playlist (they were playing some CLASSICS like Elton John, was actually awesome!)
My Dinner at Ben Wei
My friend Rebecca and I were warmly welcomed to the restaurant by our host (and general manager), Bryn, and shown to our seats. We took a squizz at the menu, but Bryn was keen to show us what the restaurant was all about. I was hesitant to trust him because I REALLY don’t eat seafood, but it was also a Tuesday and I didn’t have the energy to protest too much. Well I’m absolutely glad I that trusted him because everything he suggested was excellent.
To start we had some regular eastern classics including chicken spring rolls (R25), crispy fried wantons (R38) and Tom Kha Gai Soup (R50). Everything was delicious BUT I haven’t stopped thinking about the soup. Soups are LITERALLY something I NEVER order in restaurants cause they seem like throw away food to me. But I’m learning more and more that a dynamic soup can really be a beautiful eating experience. The Tom Kha Gai was smooth, flavourful and spicy. I thought it was REALLY spicy, but we realised it was just because it was fresh out the pot. The spring rolls seemed hotter to Bex, until it cooled down. So it’s a perfect winter warmer.
Bryn presented some seared tuna (Tuna Tataki R58) with classic sushi sides, wasabi, pickled ginger and a black and white sesame seed crust. I had a bite even though I don’t like seafood and it was very, very good. Extremely cool and fresh, lots of flavour. I could NEARLY say I like it, but that would be a stretch 😉 If you like this type of food though, you will love it!
Rebecca also had some regular sushi (sorry I’m bad with the names!) and I tried some vegetarian sushi. It wasn’t too bad, but seaweed, EEK! FISHY! Not my vibe. The bean piece with mayo and avo was really great though. This would be really good for lunch in summer.
Our next course was the meat course. I was keen to try the Spicy Beef Stir Fry (R79), which Bryn delivered because it was my choice. But he was right, it was the least best impressive dish on the menu. Don’t get me wrong, there was NOTHING wrong with it and I loved the glass noodes, but it just lacked the “star quality” of all the other dishes.
We also had the Peanut Chicken Satay (R45), which was delicious! Possibly the best I’ve ever had. It did not have a tacky surface, but rather a crispier texture, toasty peanut taste and the sesame oil really added an umph! Loved this, will 100% have it again.
Now desserts! I’m a caramel, chocolate, toffee kinda girl so it takes quite a bit to impress me. Having said that, I also prefer ice cream in winter, than summer, because it’s indulgent and makes me thirsty. So I’m open to trying different things so that I can find the perfect occasion to eat them! At Ben Wei we were greedy (as if we hadn’t eaten enough!) and had 3 desserts: the chocolate and banana spring rolls (R48), deep fried ice cream (R38) and Homemade Coconut Ice Cream (R52).
There’s another restaurant who does banana chocolate spring rolls that have BLOWN MY MIND. Ben Wei put up a good fight, but they haven’t taken my number 1 spot. The deep fried ice cream was also fun, BUT, their homemade coconut ice cream (R52) was exceptional. Served with mixed berry couli, these frozen desserts are not too heavy, soft in texture with a touch of savoury with the coconut, the couli acid balancing it out (without killing the delicate flavours), these were fantastic. During summer time, KILLER!
My Best of Ben Wei
I really enjoyed my meal at Ben Wei and would happily return. All their plates are imported and that also added to the dining experience. I had a few glasses of wine which also didn’t touch sides 😉 When I return, I’ll definitely have:
- Tom Kha Gai (R50)
- Crispy fried wantons (R38)
- Peanut Chicken Satay (R45)
- Homemade coconut ice cream (R52)
With a glass of wine that’s a meal for R200 (do I have to share?!).
Thanks Ben Wei for having Rebecca and I. Find them at shop 3, Wembley Square, Solan Street, Gardens.
Call them on 021 461 2966 for reservations. Please note that they do close at 9pm. Join the Ben Wei Facebook Page for further information.