Image taken from the All About Food Blog. They have a review of Zen that you can read here.
Ok, this will be a new thing. Back in Brazil, I would frequently write about restaurants I visited, and all those reviews are – quite obviously – in Portuguese. The time has come to start writing about the Sydney restaurant scene. And I’ll start with a Japanese restaurant, because that’s what I’d write the most about back in Brazil, Japanese being my favourite cuisine.
The first thing to point out is that, contrary to Brazil, all-you-can-eat places are not common in Sydney. So, when I saw an offer on Groupon for an all-you-can-eat sushi fest, I was thrilled. Even the fact that the restaurant is not exactly the easiest to get to, by Sydney standards, didn’t make the least bit of difference. So, on Sunday, December 2, there I was with my friend. Now, some conditions included in the voucher are important to mention: the seating time was 90 minutes; each person was allowed to choose one plate at a time; and only sushi rolls and niguiri were included.
Right at the start, we got suspicious that the whole thing might be a scam: after our first order, we had to wait a bit over 20 minutes for the dishes to be served. Luckily, after that the service picked up, and we were able to get the food we ordered in reasonable time. Ultimately, we ate enough to be satisfied, and fell a bit short of the 90 minutes we were entitled to. In terms of atmosphere, the place was nice. Small, with tables very close to one another, and it got a little noisy at the peak of movement, but nothing that actually spoiled the mood. Some tables were left unclean for quite a while after diners left. The lady that took most of our orders was quite friendly.
But enough with the details and let’s get to the food. Among others, we tried spicy tuna roll, spider roll, salmon niguiri, grilled scallop niguiri, king fish niguiri and cuttle fish niguiri. The cuttle fish was not good. At all. Aside from that, everything was alright. Nothing really stood out, nothing gave us a feeling of “I have to repeat this one before I go”. But it was, overall, a pleasant experience. The thing is, the voucher cost AU$29, for two people. From the normal menu, that would mean each of us ordering one sushi roll (they all cost AU$14.90), and the sushi rolls are not worth that high a price. The niguiri cost 5 dollars a pair, and that is somewhat reasonable. If I were to go there without a voucher, I’d mostly stick to the niguiri (and I would try the sashimi, obviously). I must say, however, that it is unlikely that I will get on a bus to Randwick to visit Zen again. It wasn’t bad, but I can find something as valuable, in terms of cost-benefit, closer to home.
Zen Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar is at shop 20, Perouse Road, Randwick, NSW, 2031. They open for lunch and dinner.