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Monday, 15 September 2014

Dinner at Zen Japanese Restaurant

205 River Valley Road #01-75 UE Square, Singapore 238274
Tel: 6732 3110

Having dined at EN Japanese Restaurant (the branch at Coronation Plaza) several years back, I suddenly feel like having it again, just because I recall it had been good. *Celine, *Charliez and I visited the sister outlet, Z'en Japanese Restaurant - blending tranquility with a touch of modernity to create some of Z'en's popular signature dishes.

One could choose to sit indoors, surrounded by a calm, sophisticated interior or dine by breezes' kisses outdoors- either way it was comfortable. It is ala carte buffet dining concept, by the way.

The servers' response was a little slow though, and we were kind of displeased that they did not inform us that our drinks would cost an additional SDD$6.00 each (even for the hot green tea!)

We started with the Shabu Shabu - with thin slices of Beef that tasted like cheeseburger's patty literally, except a whole lot more tender and fresher. We also threw in the mandatory must-have platter of Vegetables for a balanced meal - and to add some crisp sweetness to the soup. And fine slices of Pork to further sweeten the deal.

The girls ordered this platter of Garlic Squids for me , which was delicious and chewy no doubt, but too much for one person, duh (even though I love squids).

I thought I would be attacking just Salmon Sashimi and Chawanmushi throughout dinner, since I often had cravings for them. But I only got to eat one serving of each - salmon sashimi was cut into smaller squares to make for easier consumption, and the Japanese steamed egg custard was average.

Next, we had the Butter Pumpkin - very slight hint of butter's fragrance, and the pumpkin cubes were too hard.

California Maki was next - the usual delicacy with crab meat, cucumber, avocado and rice.

I enjoyed this Salmon Aburi (torched salmon sashimi) sushi because of the smoky flavor of the torched salmon.

All of us loved the Cold Tofu dish, in fact, I think I may be starting to prefer cold tofu over agadeshi tofu.

We had Oysters in raw form and  fried form - both ways scrumptious since oysters posess a palatable metallic flavor and buttery smooth texture.

Then we had some Grilled Salmon dish that was rather common except for the sweet sauce found only in Japanese restaurants.

Another unique delicacy here - the Asparagus with Bleu Cheese - we are not fans of blue cheese, but the lightly-infused method worked really well with this sweet vegetable with a stronger hint of "grassy" taste. This was a keeper.

We also had the usual suspects like Prawns Tempura, Grilled Chicken Liver and Grilled Chicken Glizzard - the latter was very crispy to my delight.

The cubed Terderloin Steak was expected to be more tender, but despite its juicy deliciousness, lost out to the plate of succulent, tender-er Sirloin steak. The bed of garlic mashed potato for the tenderloin steak was a rather palatable accompaniment.

Another specialty of their - crispy Bacon-wrapped Mochi - a beautiful play of textures, the crispy against the sticky chewiness of mochi, of mochi's plainer flavor balancing the bacon's sapid saltiness out. We enjoyed this creation as well.

Then we had desserts, a lovely touch since most Japanese restaurants do not serve desserts (or maybe they just serve fruits or ice-cream). So we had one of each - the Creme Brulee, the Cheese cake and Green Tea Ice-cream scoop. All came in miniature bite-sizes, so we could have our cakes and eat them too. 

All in all, the quality of food was so-so (average), with some outstanding and creative items which I'd pointed out specially above. Each of us spent SGD$68.00 (including our SGD$6.00 drinks) - I'd recommend that one comes here for the wide variety of food and never mind the service.

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