Zen is part of the En group of restaurants, and like En Japanese Dining Bar, Zen has a pretty killer a la carte buffet comprising both shabu shabu and regular items. However, unlike at En where the shabu shabu is, if not the star of the show, at least on par with the other items, here at Zen I’m willing to trade in the shabu shabu to provide more stomach space for the other dishes, which are excellent.
The one dish that I think makes the whole buffet worthwhile is the aburi salmon sushi. The sushi is perfectly sized – small amounts of rice with fairly decent slices of salmon belly, lightly torched for a smoky flavour and topped with a dollop of mayonnaise. I think A and I had like ten pieces each...
Two other items which are worth ordering at least one portion each are the grilled sirloin steak with ponzu sauce, and tenderloin beef cubes with mashed potato. The tenderloin cubes are so tender they really melt in your mouth, but I actually prefer the sirloin because it has a bit more texture and more importantly, a more pronounced beefy flavour.
They do a really good daikon salad as well, and their asparagus with blue cheese sauce is interesting and very addictive. It comes with perfectly toasted baguette slices to mop up the blue cheese sauce.
Desserts are included in the buffet too – cheesecake, coconut crème brulee, and vanilla and chocolate ice creams. I like the cheesecake, which was light, not too sweet and a perfect end to the meal.
Service was generally very good all night, except for a puzzling occurrence – every single one of our orders turned up, except for the garlic fried rice and crab ‘mui fun’. We had to remind them twice for both carb dishes, which was pretty odd. You’d think that it was in their interests to bring the carb dishes first to fill us up so that we don’t order enough aburi sushi to feed an army.
The strange thing about Zen is that their buffet costs more on weekdays than on weekends! From Mondays to Fridays it costs $52; it’s $42 on weekends.
RAWK!!! I have to waddle out of here every time.
The service can be a bit slow though so place a big first round order and be prepared to wait. Just don’t over order and get flooded with stuff right at the end.
Note to self: don’t order rice again. It just fills you up too much.
Zen Japanese Cuisine
205 River Valley Road
UE Square #01-75
Mon – Fri: 12 noon to 2.30 pm; 6 pm to 12 mn
Sat, Sun & PH: 6 pm to 12 mn