ZEN is a brand new Japanese restaurant on Rosmead Place. While their menu is a bit limited, the food was tasty and authentic. Their service however, needs a bit of work.
Japanese cuisine is delicious and usually expensive. ZEN isn’t really an exception. It’s quite good, but it’ll cost about Rs. 2,000 per head. Their menu, while not extensive, has the usual types of sushi, nigiri and rice dishes. They’ve also got bento boxes but we feel they’re a bit too pricey (Rs. 1250 – Rs. 2400).
We’d generally go for sushi, but this time around we decided to go with the salmon and tuna sashimi (Rs. 1800 for 12 pcs). We’ve seen some shoddy knifemanship by some local chefs, but this fish was expertly prepared; very fresh, slightly chill and cut to just the right thickness.
We also tried a katsudon (Rs. 850), one of my favourite Japanese dishes. Word up ZEN’s was one of the best I’ve had in Colombo. It pretty much ticked all the right boxes with a generous amount of pork, slightly sticky rice and just the right amount of caramelized onions. One little thing that they did differently here was that they used pork with a thin layer of fat, which really adds to the flavour.
This was basically the bomb katsudon.
After the impressive sashimi we decided to give the maguro don (Rs. 1250) a shot. Again, we were pretty happy with what we got. The preparation here is pretty simple since it’s basically raw tuna over rice but it’s the little things like the nori seaweed, spring onions and wasabi that bring the entire dish together. It’s fresh, has a great balance of textures and flavours with a slight wasabi kick, and the portion is also quite large.
The green tea ice cream (Rs. 400) is pretty much the only real dessert option they had, but it turned out to be really tasty. The ice cream is served on a bed of boiled sweet redbeans, which works extremely well with the green tea flavour of the ice cream.
Ambience & Service
ZEN is located on Rosmead Place at the Zylan Luxury Hotel, so the interior is more or less a contemporary boutique hotel, but they have added a little bamboo garden outside which adds to the vibe. That being said this is still a great place for a private meal.
The service was the only real letdown here. The staff while friendly, didn’t really understand the menu at all and more often than not they were nowhere to be seen. The chef was the one who ended up taking our order and he was nice enough to apologize and offer us a free miso soup.
ZEN has only been opened for just over a month now and they’re still a bit rough around the edges, but the food is good enough to go back for.