The art of Zen - Achieving enlightenment through meditation.
Zen Japanese restaurant is a mood lit traditional Japanese restaurant in Subiaco. It is a bit off the beaten track so you don't get the Subi yobos coming in and demanding saki like at a few other Japanese restaurants around Perth. I must reiterate that it is very traditional. The staff and chef are all Japanese and after spending quite a few months in Japan myself I saw no real difference between what I would find there and what was found at Zen.
I went for a quick dinner with Jay and we had envisaged a bento box type set up - average Japanese meal. Instead the menu was a little more extensive and even had the likes of sea urchin featured on it.
To start with we decided to share a beef Tataki. This is like a Japanese version of carpacio except the meat has been very lightly seared. It is seasoned with a citrusy soy sauce. This version of the dish had a lot of dried garlic and fresh red chilli sprinkled on it. The serving was huge and very reasonably priced. We ate every last bit of it - it was one of those dishes where you contemplate getting another just out of sheer greediness because it was so good!
For mains I got the mixed Sashimi with a salad. This was so fresh and beautifully presented. The dish contained Tuna, King Fish (my fave), Salmon, Scallops and an Oyster. We could see the chef making it and honestly these Japanese know a thing or two about design. Everything they do is aesthetically pleasing. I always order Sashimi when I eat Japanese because I prefer raw fish to cooked fish by a long shot, so I do actually know the difference between good sashimi and bad sashimi. Good is when the raw fish is firm and holds together. This is a sign of freshness. Bad sashimi tends to be a bit slimy. Never a good thing... To be clear this Sashimi ticked all of the boxes.
Jay ordered the mixed Tempura. He was starving so going for raw fish wasn't going to cut it although Sashimi was his first choice. Tempura is a pretty safe dish and it is hard to go wrong. However Jay had never had it before so the whole set up was quite interesting to him. The mixture of prawns, eggplant, sweet potato, lotus root, carrot etc deep fried in tempura batter and then served with a hot dipping soup (a mixture of mirin, soy sauce, dashi soup stock and sugar).
This photo is not of the Tempura at Zen.
We shared some hot saki and edamame beans also. Everything was served with style and generosity.
Would I go back? In a heartbeat. That beef Tataki is honestly a must try - the flavours were fierce! Not a very Zen like trait at all!