Dining Out: Sushi House Ben-K, Hawthorn

by April@MyFoodTrail on September 28, 2010

in Cheap Eats, Dining Out, Hawthorn, Japanese

Sushi House Ben-K
344 Burwood Road, Hawthorn VIC
(03) 9819 3217

Cuisine: Japanese
BYO: No, not licenced.
Prices: Entrées $2-$7, sushi & sashimi $2.20-$18.50, mains $8-$10

Saturday was AFL Grand Final day in Melbourne, an important event in the Victorian sporting calendar. The AFL Grand Final is an accumulation of 22 weeks of matches, followed by 3 weeks of finals, to decide the last two teams standing to fight it out on the last Saturday in September. Except this year there was a draw, and the 2010 Grand Final winner will be decided on the first Saturday in October (unless of course there is another draw!!).

I’m not really into the football, though hubby is an Adelaide Crows supporter. I do however, participate in footy tipping, so my interest lies more in tipping the right winning team rather than in the love of the game itself! I thought it would be interesting to share some Grand Final footy history with you:

  • The first ever Grand Final draw was in 1948 between Essendon and Melbourne. The replay saw Melbourne win.
  • In 1966, St Kilda won its first (and only) premiership after 69 years of competition. Interestingly enough, it was against Collingwood and St Kilda won by a point, kicked in the last few moments of the game!! How coincidental that it almost happened again in 2010.
  • The second Grand Final draw happened in 1977 between North Melbourne and Collingwood. The replay saw North Melbourne win, so I am hoping history repeats itself and Collingwood loses next week!

After the anti-climax of the drawn Grand Final, hubby and I went out for a late dinner at Ben-K. We couldn’t be bothered cooking and didn’t want to travel far for some food. Hubby had a craving for Japanese and instead of choosing somewhere new to go, we went back to a local favourite. I keep meaning to blog about my visits to Ben-K but never got around to it.

Ben-K has a typical Japanese restaurant menu with a mix of small plate entrees, a large selection of sushi and sashimi and quite a few mains. We have tried a few of the mains before, but we don’t find them as good as the entrees so now whenever we go, we stick to the entrees and the sushi.

Hubby’s latest must order dish whenever we go for Japanese is the seaweed (wakame) salad. Dried seaweed has been reconstituted and sliced thinly and topped with a delicious soy sauce and rice vinegar dressing. The dressing at Ben-K was just right.

Sushi House Ben-K - Seaweed salad

Seaweed salad $4.00

Ben-K has both American fried chicken and Japanese fried chicken on the menu, but they both taste pretty similar to us… or maybe that’s because we always order the Japanese fried chicken and can’t remember? Anyway, this time we ordered the Japanese fried chicken. It wasn’t as crispy as I would like, but it was tasty, especially with the Japanese mayonnaise.

Sushi House Ben-K - Japanese fried chicken

Japanese fried chicken $3.50

Hubby wanted raw tuna but I didn’t feel like tuna sashimi so hubby ordered a tuna handroll with avocado for himself. It’s not on the menu but they were happy to make it. They do have a selection of other individual handrolls though.

Sushi House Ben-K - Tuna handroll

Raw tuna handroll $3.00

One thing we always order when we come to Ben-K is the reversed sushi rolls. It is salmon, avocado and cucumber (and mayonnaise) rolled with the seaweed on the inside and the rice on the outside. The roll is then generously coated with tobiko (flying fish roe) and cut into 12 pieces. The trick is to not lose too much of the tobiko when dipping it in the soy sauce! We normally request no cucumber.

Sushi House Ben-K - Inside out rolls

Reversed rolls (salmon, fish roe, avocado, cucumber & mayonnaise) 12 pieces $13.00

The tempura mix is really good value at only $7 for two prawns, two green beans, two carrots, two pumpkin, two eggplant slices and one piece of tuna. While the tempura batter was light, it was too oily this time. The prawns were coated in panko breadcrumbs.

Sushi House Ben-K - Tempura mix

Tempura mix (vegetables, prawns, fish) $7.00

The nasu dengaku (grilled eggplant) was almost too rich with the soft, melt in the mouth texture and tasty sweet miso sauce. The menu says it is deep fried, but it looks grilled to me.

Sushi House Ben-K - Nasu Dengaku

Nasu dengaku (deep fried eggplant with miso sauce) $4.00

The last dish we had was another one we always order, the okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake). The okonomiyaki at Ben-K is one of my favourite ones because it is so thin and not too floury. It is always topped with the perfect amount of okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise.

Sushi House Ben-K - Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake with prawn) $4.50

Overall: Ben-K is a small neighbourhood Japanese restaurant that serves great food with the bonus of also being cheap! Our favourite dishes are the okonomiyaki and inside out sushi rolls.

Over & Out, April xx

Sushi House Ben K on Urbanspoon


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Celeste @ Berrytravels September 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I wish I had a local that served good Japanese!


msihua September 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm

That looks really yummy! I want some please!!!


Iron Chef Shellie September 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm

mmmm really want sushi now! And I really want to try the Japanese pancake too!


Eliza Jane September 28, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Yum I love Japanese! That sushi looks spectacular and the eggplant looks very indulgent. The serving plates are very quirky too.


Conor @ Hold the Beef September 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Damn pesky tobiko running away into the soy sauce dish. Come back tobiko!

The prices here are great, and now I'm majorly craving okonomiyaki. Damn.


mademoiselle délicieuse September 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Woah, so much finely squiggled mayonnaise on the okonomiyaki!


Clare @ Mrs Multitasker September 29, 2010 at 12:20 am

Hello April! How are ya? I lurve okonomiyaki and am feeling greedy now =) And that wakame looks great… maybe I'll try making some…


My Restaurants Melbourne September 29, 2010 at 11:32 am

Ben K looks fantastic, and I noted the prices are quite good too, bargain!!


penny aka jeroxie September 29, 2010 at 6:13 pm

At least you have good Jap near you. The inverse sushi does look pretty damn yummy


Heidi - Apples Under My Bed September 30, 2010 at 10:21 am

Good to know – I love Okonomiyaki! Always on the hunt for good, reasonably priced japanese!
Heidi xo


Saucy Thyme October 6, 2010 at 1:13 am

I love ben-k! I work a few doors away and seriously find myself here once a week for that reversed sushi roll. It's just so damn good! 😀


April @ My Food Trail October 7, 2010 at 10:02 am

Hi Celeste: Sometimes you just have to go hunting and try out different places!

Hi msihua: You should try it out for yourself! 🙂

Hi Shellie: The okonomiyaki at Ben-K is one of the best!

Hi Eliza: I love all the different Japanese plates too!

Hi Conor: The prices are definitely reasonable, especially around the area!

Hi mademoiselle délicieuse: I was thinking that too when it came out!

Hi Clare: I'm good thanks! Both the okonomiyaki were delicious!

Hi My Restaurants Melbourne: Yeh, the prices are really decent and they actually haven't risen in quite a few years *touch wood*!!

Hi Penny: Ah, but you have good laksa and Chinese around you!

Hi Heidi: Ben-K is definitely the place to go for good, cheap Japanese!

Hi Saucy Thyme: It is good isn't it?! 🙂


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