Restaurant Review

Cape Town's Ben Wei dishes up pocket-friendly fusion food

Charis Le Riche checks out an East-meets-West restaurant that has something for every taste from schnitzels to sushi

06 December 2017 - 10:12 By Charis Le Riche
Ben Wei is the perfect spot for a relaxed lunch or dinner.
Ben Wei is the perfect spot for a relaxed lunch or dinner.
Image: Supplied

Ben Wei, meaning “original taste” in Chinese, is the brainchild of business partners chef Jim Dai and Ian McMahon, the man behind Crew Bar and MCQP, and does its name proud with its elegant mix of Western and Asian flavours.

“The menu is inspired by a mix of great fresh produce, a relaxed environment and items that won’t break the bank,” says Ian. 

Located in Wembley Square and just 10 months old, Ben Wei has been making waves in the foodie scene for its fusion cuisine, attention to detail and excellent service.

“With a focus on daytime office-goers abundant in the area, it was a no-brainer, and the free parking after hours and a central location were a big plus. We’re happy to be in Wembley Square.” 

Chef Jim is friendly and passionate about food and this shows on the menu, with great fresh interpretations of old favourites and originals that are sure to become classics.

There’s something for everyone, with traditional meals like the Vietnamese Prawn Rolls and Potstickers as starters, the Tom Yum soup and Kung-Pao Chicken, Western-inspired sushi like the Crunchy Calamari Roll (tempura calamari roll topped with more crunchy calamari in a Thai sweet chilli sauce and mayo).

The chef’s original sushi creations also include delights like the Banting-friendly Bamboo Rolls (cucumber-wrapped salmon, ginger, tuna, crab and carrot),  Banting salmon roses (salmon roses made with nori, avo and cucumber topped with mayo and caviar), and the zestful California Sunrises (a salmon California roll with Japanese mayo and lemon zest).

There are even burgers and chicken schnitzels available.

Fresh produce helps inspire the menu at Ben Wei.
Fresh produce helps inspire the menu at Ben Wei.
Image: Supplied

Jim and Ian have created a restaurant that embodies the melting pot that is Cape Town and is the perfect way to spend a lunch away from your desk or an evening out with friends.

It’s easy to see that there are big things in store for Ben Wei. “At the moment, we just want to grow our customer base and entice them with great wallet-friendly food, available for delivery, takeaway or sit-down, and who knows, maybe another shop – watch this space.”

This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guides. Visit