Why did I choose Zen Japanese Vegetarian Restaurant for my second review? I have done my homework and according to my research, it is the first Japanese-style vegetarian restaurant concept in Singapore; therefore, it’s not to be missed!
Also, they claim to offer vegan food without garlic, onion, MSG, egg and other dairy products. Then I became much intrigued: if this is so, what would be the difference in taste between non-vegetarian Japanese food and this one? I have to find out.
Address: 122 Middle Road Midlink Plaza #02-02, Singapore, 188973 (This will be relocated in May. According to the waitress, new address is not yet confirmed.)
Contact Number: 68831586
Opening Hours: 11:30am-3pm & 5:30pm-10pm daily
Nearest MRT: Bugis
How to Go: The nearest landmark is the National Library. Walk opposite that and further down.
Food I Ordered: Unagi Don Set
Zen Japanese Vegetarian Restaurant has an amazingly serene atmosphere, designed with a zen feel where seating arrangements (boxed) are positioned quite widely apart illustrating form and function. The place was free of clutter, answering the quest for tranquility and balance.
Think minimalism combined with modernistic beauty. It suddenly bought me back a flood of fond Restaurant City (Playfish game) memories because its interior is similar to mine (in the game). Haha.
The place was quiet, with only three of us tables active probably because it was a week day today and I had my brunch at 1:30pm. I heard it’s usually so jam-packed with diners in office hours and weekends that you should call to make a reservation or else you won’t get a chance to have seats right away.
I bowed like a Japanese as I pushed the door from the entrance. The attendant must have thought that I was Japanese and smiled. She gave me the liberty to choose my spot. I sat in the middle cubicle of the restaurant and she handed me the menu together with some tissue paper and chopsticks.
When I was ready to order, I raised my hand as usual to call out the waiters. However, although all of them were idle, there was not even one wait staff in sight who was looking out for customers’ calls. I took the initiative to walk forward to the cashier and ordered food there.
I did the same thing when I billed out because they were all facing either the kitchen, the counter, the door outside or talking with each other. Food was served in less than 10 minutes.
The unagi don set is one of the most favorite dishes in the menu, as suggested by the online community. Definitely, it’s a must-try. It came with the following: four pieces of unagi (eel) that is actually made of tofu (note: not mock meat) grilled with seaweed and nice sweet Teriyaki sauce, traditional sticky Japanese rice, a small bowl of organic miso soup, garden lettuce salad with cherry tomatoes topped with sesame/peanut dressing, pickles and seaweeds, mixed steam vegetables (medley of radish, pumpkin and ladyfinger) and peach pudding.
I thought as a whole, the presentation of the set looked very upmarket, creative and luxurious! The taste matched the elegant execution of the dishes. It was beyond divine. (Even non-vegetarians would love it.) I savored everything in one hour. Burp.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
The original price of the set was S$16 and there was a 10-percent service fee. It was like a hundred times more than my usual budget for a meal. However, I thought it’s worth the price for the food comprised not of boring vegetarian products made from gluten but of real vegetables. It’s one of the very best vegetarian meals I’ve ever had. Certainly, it deserves a two-thumbs up!