Asian Comforts at Ben Wei in Wembley Square


“You like spicy?” chef and co-owner Jim Dai asked from behind the counter at Ben Wei, the new restaurant in Wembley Square, Cape Town, where he and his partner, Ian McMahon, prepare an elevated and memorable menu of Asian cuisine. Before I could answer, he handed me bowl of Tom Yum that would casually knock over my ideas about Thai soups. Loaded with prawns, this hot and sour soup instantly woke up my long-dormant palate.

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Without having a big, sticky menu that you have to page through, Ben Wei aims to offer a variety of high quality and freshly prepared Asian dishes at reasonable prices. Here you will find admirable versions of  familiar dishes such as peanut chicken satay and prawn tempura for starters and Thai curries and Kung-Poa chicken for mains.

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Also on offer is a selection beverages to entice drinkers. The wine bramptonwines Asian Comforts at Ben Wei in Wembley Square
by Bramptonwines
list is hand picked to match the cuisine and includes many local gems. You will also find a sake menu and a good selection of Asian beerredrockbrewing Asian Comforts at Ben Wei in Wembley Square
by RedRock
s to wash it all down with.

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The Spicy Tuna Tataki salad I tried was a culinary work of art. Fresh tuna slices with toasted sesame seeds perched on a raft of cucumber slaw and covered in a house vinaigrette dressing.

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Other starters I’d recommend include the crispy fried chicken and shiitake mushroom wontons

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and the Vietnamese Prawn Roll – a succulent steamed prawn wrapped with fresh carrot, cucumber & lettuce in a translucent rice paper wrap with a zesty lime & coriander sauce. The prawns were dizzily tender and heavy with their own sweetness.

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There is considerable variety among the entrees, with a number of attractive hand-roll choices. Not only were the presentations eye-appealing, but the Salmon Roses, Fashion Sandwiches, and Bambo Rolls were all sparklingly fresh.

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By the time I tasted the Kung-Pao Chicken, I was convinced that this was one of the most exciting Asian meals I’d had this year. There was a more than generous blend of flavours in the crispy wok fried chicken with exotic Huajian peppercorns, roasted whole peanuts, veggies & Chef Jimmy’s secret sauce.

As for dessert, restraint would be a tragedy here. Be sure not to leave without trying the homemade coconut ice cream with mixed berries coulis. You won’t forget it any time soon!

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If you feel that primal need for a taste of Asia when you’re in Cape Town, you won’t get better than this. Ben Wei delivers a feast not only for the eyes but also for your tummy.

Ben Wei is open on Monday to Saturday from 11:30am to 9:00pm. They are closed on Sundays.