Zen

There are two types of restaurants here in D, where I read Economics. Extremely cheap food frequently loaded with a healthy mix of carbohydrates. These restaurants typically include Kebab Stores where unrecognisable oil soaked meat are served on a bed of chips topped with (that is what they say) garlic and chilli sauce, Italian restaurants that serve pasta or pizza with a 3:1 ratio of carbs is to meat; or my little sin, Chinese Buffets. Where I can eat as much spare ribs as I want and not feel guilty about it.

Then there is the second category of restaurants where you pay a bit (actually a lot more) and you can get a fantastic meal and ensure the meat to carbs ratio is 3:1. Last night I had the opportunity to visit one of D’s finest (in my opinion) restaurants, Zen.


Zen serves fusion cuisine and according to them, a melting pot of far eastern influence and true western glamour. I know you must be thinking, fusion? You sure? There have too many instances when I have visited places which describe themselves as fusion and it turns out to be nothing more than a nightmarish meal confused between east and west. Zen, on the other hand, is quite different. All the chefs are Thais. How do I know this? One of my best friend is a Thai and studying in a town perhaps no bigger than Harrods, everyone knows everyone. The chefs love my friend and whenever he visits the restaurant they serve him authentic Thai food. Zen is owned by an English, the decorations are very modern and they have one of the best bars in D.

I visited Zen with ten friends last night. It was a good friend’s birthday and we all huddled in an oval table where there were extremely comfortable seats and cushions. The night started with Champagne which was just perfect and another great way to end the term. Then we ordered starters.

Wonton Soup

Chicken Satay

Steamed mussels with bean sprouts King Prawn Papaya Salad

I ordered Wonton Soup. Yes, I know I am crazy but I really missed eating Wonton and have been too lazy the past couple of days to go purchase wonton skin and minced pork to make my own. My beautiful and tasty wonton soup came with 5 of those babies, pak choy and 3 crunchy prawns. Seriously good everyone. Birthday boy, N, ordered Chicken Satay Skewers. He was not too impressed with it especially when the satay sauce tasted nothing like the ones back in Asia. Still he finished everything up. Another good friend, JHan, ordered Steamed Mussels topped with Bean Sprouts. I am not a fan of bean sprouts but his dish looked really good and JHan liked it alot. Then two people, J and JoH, ordered King Prawn Papaya Salad. On the menu it stated really spicy but JoH refused to believe them thinking it was some western nonsense and so gamely asked the waitress to increase the spicyness. Big Mistake! The dish was so spicy, within 2 minutes of eating it, J, could no longer feel her mouth and JoH was perspiring profusely. It was so spicy none of them could finish it.

Vietnamese Slow Braised Lamb Shank

Pad Thai Curry

With starters done, came the main course. Zen has a lot of curry dishes and several people ordered curry which was good except it was not camera-friendly and turned out to look like unappetizing bowls of sick. Ok that is a bit harsh but those that ordered curry really like it. But the most noticeable dishes that night was the Pad Thai and Vietnamese Slow Braised Lamb Shank. The Pad Thai smelled heavenly. It has been a long time since I have smelled something so good. Then I met the mother of all dishes was the Vietnamese Slow Braised Lamb Shank. Initially I was stuffed from the soup and could not bring myself to eat the lamb but it would be a long time before I visit Zen again so Lamb Shank it was for me. The lamb meat was so tender and soft. It was also incredibly easy to pull apart which I love and the last time I had such great lamb shank was in Singapore (where I am from) from Secret Recipes. It was such a satisfying meal and a breath of fresh air from the sub-standard restaurants in D.

I hope to go back to Zen again, maybe in June when my family comes down for my congregation.

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