More times than I can count, I have eaten at Banzai in Leederville with my girlfriends for a cheap and cheerful catch up. It has been a while since my best friend Vee and I have been here though so on our way to Scenario at Leederville for some live tunes, we decided to make a pit stop at our old haunt.
We soon realised the menu had changed slightly, and the prices gone up which was a bit of a shame because the cost effectiveness of eating here had always been a draw for us. However that said, we dove in to the menu, ordering our usual dishes.
For myself, I have always chosen the Agedashi Tofu ($7.50) here. Back in my previous days of attending this place, it used to come as four large squares of tofu in a beautifully delicate and balanced broth with daikon and spring onion garnishes. However it seems that this is one of the dishes that has changed - and is now five smaller (half the size at least) rectangles of tofu. They lack the crunch that the old ones had, but they have soaked up a decent amount of sauce and it explodes in my mouth as I bite down. I'm not really sure how I feel - I miss the dish I'm familiar with but this one tastes nice enough. It's a bit of column A and B in terms of my reaction to it.
That said, I wouldn't call this Agedashi Tofu though. It's more like an interpretation of.
I also order a small (5 pieces) serving of the Tuna and Avocado Sushi ($8.00). What I particularly like about the sushi here is that the sushi is prepared to order which means the rice is a little warm. It has the really fresh taste without the rice being overly hard or cold. Thankfully this hasn't changed with the menu alterations!
The tuna is delicious and melts in your mouth with each bite. The wasabi on side is actually hot and I find myself revelling in the burn with each mouthful (I do tend to overuse this condiment!).
Vee chooses a good old classic from here, the Teriyaki Chicken ($16.00). It comes out different to how it used to - which was a big bowl of rice with slices of chicken on top. It's a bento box style now with chunks of chicken, rice, salad and bean shoots.
She notes that it tastes a bit different to how it used to, which makes me suspect that perhaps the chef here has changed. That might explain why things aren't how they used to be. But in all she really enjoys it and cleans up every bite so it's not like things could be so bad after all.
After all the times I've eaten here, I have to admit I do feel a bit of a loss at the change in menu and pricing. While the food was still enjoyable, the flavours and dishes I loved here seem to have been altered completely or enough to make it a different experience. The staff seem as friendly as ever, but I'm not so sure I'll be back anytime soon. A definite shame after so many wonderful memories here.