Friday, November 03, 2006

Zen. 2.75/5.00

Went to Zen with MadMan and a couple of his friends for their seafood buffet last night.

If you want to stop reading here, then here's my take: Don't go. Not for the food, not for the ambiance and certainly not for the value for money proposition. Worthy and far superior alternatives are, T'chi for Chinese, Harima for Japanese and Shiok for Thai.

Their insipid and uninspiring salad bar was a motley collection of soggy vegetables in the same bloody dressing. The beef salad was good, insofar as the beef was good, but they overdid the celery. Everything else was best left alone.

The sushi and sashimi bar was, well at best it was bright. A boring selection of fish of which the best that could be said that it was fresh. Ish. The ubiquitous tuna (no toro), salmon, octopus , mackerel (which was better than I imagined it would be) and some very good jellyfish. But there was no chef in attendance nor were there any name-tags to identify the food. Shoddy service really. I don't really like sushi, tried some, wasn't bad. But certainly not good.

The trouble with buffets is this. Heat lamps and induction stoves. They keep things warm but food also ends up over cooked, dry and pretty damn unappetizing. Their main course options were an unimaginative rice/noodle/beef in oyster sauce (again, good beef mediocre sauce)/chicken with cashew (ooh! Indian Chinese)/stir fried veggies (that collapsed into goo)/prawn green curry (hideous)/fish in sweet soy sauce (Yaaay! So exciting!) and crab in black pepper (taken out of the shell. No fun.)

They had this counter where you could choose your raw fish and it would be grilled and served, the only choices being "Spicy, sir or medium-spicey?". They had pomfret, red snapper, lady fish, tiger prawn, lobster, salmon, scampi and a few other local varieties. Safe to say it was middlingly ordinary. Piddlingly so.

They also had a few satay starters. Pity they all tasted the same, burnt to a bloody crisp.

Dessert encompassed the usual suspects. The fresh fruit was the best option along with a Chocolate Mille Feuille. The chocolate fountain had, what could be best described as, Amul chocolate in it.

This is no gustatory pleasure. The focus is not on the food, quality or appearance. It's more an experiment in excesses. I 'll give it a pass in future and would recommend you do the same.

MadMan adds:

Well... I ate a lot, but overall, a bit of a "meh" feeling. I might have paid Rs. 1000 + tax on it, but 1750 is too much for *that*.

In order of eating:
  • Satays: Burnt meat, no unique flavour. Total let-down. They need to hire better chefs for this.
  • Dim Sum: very nice, fresh. That's why I ate the entire first batch. ;)
  • Tempura: Too much batter on the teeny-weeny prawns. Made it a lighter version of some Chungs-style batter-fried prawns. Larger prawns would have made them tastier. (But I've never thought that much of tempura anyway.)
  • Sushi: Darn, I ate a lot of that, didn't I? Dunno why. I was drawn heavily to the soft-shell crab roll. Anyway, I liked a good chunk of it. That definitely was the surprise of the evening.
  • Salads: the beef and the mixed seafood salad is all I had, both of which were good, apart from the celery.
  • Grilled Seafood: One of my lobsters was ok, the other was mush. Scampi was tasty. Prawn (too small) was so-so. Fish barely registered on the tongue.
  • Hot food: Green curry, fried rice, etc. - not at all what I expected. Not worth mentioning.
  • Desserts: *loud yaaaaawn* Fake mango dessert, fresh fruit, and lychee in coriander syrup? Plus that un-chocolately chocolate fountain. Except for the millefeuille, nothing worth writing about.


Dilettante said...

How much (incl taxes)?

blr bytes said...

Rs. 1750.00

Not. Worth. It.

provo said...

ha ha, everyone should stick to Impy's and Chungs. Why you try all this fany fancy naatak.

blr bytes said...

This coming from you !


(Chungs it seems. What bloody bollocks!)

MadMan said...

Well, there is a Chung's corner three buildings away from Shiok if you so desire. :)

Dilettante said...

I'd prefer Wan Ley to Chung's, being discerning with the cheap Chinese places...

provo said...

yes maybe, but I will never forget my roots !! ( Which is Impy's and Chungs!!)

Anonymous said...

OK, BB, it's time for a post. It's been way too long.

blr bytes said...

I need for something blog-able in my life to happen before I can blog.

MockTurtle said...

Hey, first time here. I saw one of your older postings had a line that ended "..and yes, he's a Cottonian."
You guys Josephites? Fide et Labore and all?

blr bytes said...

I am. Very much so. But I did defect to the enemy for two years.

Why do you ask?

MockTurtle said...

Unfurl the flag of faith and toil my blue and white brudda. I'm from the batch of '90 - probably senior to you, but I bet I know a lot of your classmates.
Don't worry about having to spend 2 years up the road. Traditionally Cotton's house captains have been ex-Josephites. We have to send a few of our best and brightest there every year to provide some leadership for those pansies.

blr bytes said...

Well said! Well said!

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