Tag Archives: Zen

Zen: Restaurant Review

Zen is a Chinese Restaurant located by the Bristol harbourside on Millennium Square. It has been the restaurant of choice for myself, my friends Graeme, Kristine and her husband Andy for the last year or so. Along the way we have discovered a selection of dishes which make up an amazing dinner. Occasionally we will try a new dish or two such as ‘Smacked Cucumber’ or ‘Bang Bang Chicken’ but invariably the core components stay the same.

¼ Crispy duck for a starter, kung po prawns primarily for myself and Kristine, BBQ ribs cooked in a stone pot and egg fried rice for all, and aromatic chilli chicken primarily for Andy and Graeme.

The crispy duck meat is brought to our table as the actual quarter of duck and the waiter then strips it off the bone with a fork before passing it over. Alongside is a dish of sliced cucumbers and spring onions. Only six pancakes are provided and usually the four of us have one each and then share the remaining two. However, on Sunday, we were brought eight after we mentioned we would all be sharing. The duck has so far been ample for all four of us and the quality of the meat is wonderful. I have not had better duck in Bristol yet, definitely not at Cosmo or at Mayflower.

The Kung Po Prawn dish is a fascinating mix of king prawns and vegetables, mostly carrots and crispy things like celery, cut into small pieces and served on a big triangular white dish. The BBQ spare ribs cooked in a stone pot are soft and so tender that the meat falls off the bone as soon as you start eating. The marinated meat is permeated with the flavour and the sticky sauce is also a great accompaniment.

The favourite dish for the guys is the aromatic chilli chicken which consists of cooked dry chillies and small southern fried chicken pieces. By the end of the meal the tears were nearly welling up and they were both slightly perspiring. The dish is spicy with a lemon tang, it is also offered with a warning but this dissuades no one.

The rice is well done and served in small white covered dishes. Two were enough for the four of us. I have yet to try dessert there but I have had a Zen mojito which included some lemongrass with the mint for that oriental twist. The house white wine has consistently been pleasant and the prawn crackers are brought to the table with a chilli dipping sauce.

All in all, Zen is an excellent restaurant with a delicious choice of dishes which are not always your typical Chinese restaurant selections. The Smacked Cucumber was not entirely a success as it was served cold as was the Bang Bang Chicken which left an unpleasant sensation since the fat was still left on the chicken. However, the mixed meats noodles which contains seafood such as squid and prawns is a tasty and fresh tasting selection and the crystal rivers prawn dish has a green tea tinged glaze which is fragrant and unusual enough to be quite tasty.

They currently have an offer through Toptable of 50% off until July 11.

Zen, Unit 4B, 1st Floor, Harbourside, Explore Lane, Bristol BS1 5TY. 0845 371 3888, 0117 920 9372, info@zenharbourside.co.uk

Toptable offers: Zen on Millennium Square

Zen, a Chinese restaurant on Millennium Square, provides slightly more unusual, some would say more authentic dishes, than other restaurants. The kitchen at Zen has sourced recipes from over 23 provinces in China to create an extensive traditional menu with a contemporary twist. Some favourite dishes include aromatic chilli chicken, where half the dish consists of cooked dried chillies, crystal river prawns which is a prawn dish with a sauce flavoured by green tea and lovely Peking duck with the usual pancake assortment.

This isn’t a review but more of an attention-grabbing post about an offer through Toptable:

If you book through the site you get 50% off food with the following conditions:

…based on each person having a starter and a main. Offer only applies to diners who book online and is only available at the times stated. Maximum of 12 diners per booking applies to this offer. Excludes shellfish. Includes Vat, excluded service charge.

Available

Mon – Wed: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Sat: 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Sun: 12:00pm – 5:00pm, 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Max people: 12

Ends: 11 July

This is a great opportunity to try a not inexpensive and wonderful restaurant in a great location. Also try the Zen Mojito which is a favourite drink and I must say that even their house white wine has always been quite nice.

Zen, Unit 4B, 1st Floor, Harbourside, Explore Lane, Bristol BS1 5TY. 0845 371 3888, 0117 920 9372, info@zenharbourside.co.uk

All the lunches I never had, Bristol

After coffee with the lovely Eleanor today, I wandered around Bristol to run some errands and find something delicious for lunch. We both had Americanos at Bordeaux Quay and then I headed off to Broadmead while she went off on her own way.

I could have had pasta at Bottelino’s but walked on to not have a rocket and crayfish sandwich at Chando’s Deli. No lunch special of two courses and a glass of wine at Brasserie Blanc and no arancini ball at Carluccio’s. No lasagne at £9 at Piccolino’s although the most beautiful green colour of the seating was extremely enticing. I didn’t have a mushroom and cheese panini at Starbucks accompanied by a vanilla soy latte, no rough and ready sandwiches made with home made bread at Sourdough, the new sandwich shop at St Nick’s. No jerk chicken at Caribbean wrap and no Kofta kebab with babaganoush at the Real Olive Company. No lamb sweetbreads or pork, chorizo and clam stew at Source just past Trethowan’s cheese stall. No mezze platter at Big Chill Bristol followed by warmed up pecan pie and no coffee and no panini with haloumi and roast vegetables at Gusto. No smoked salmon and cream cheese sauce on spaghetti at the Watershed (pasta of the day) and no chips at £2.25 from @Bristol cafe. No La Reine pizza at Pizza Express and no king prawns and aromatic crispy duck at Zen. No curly fries at Las Iguanas and no food and non-alcoholic fruit cocktail at the Living Room.

I didn’t even venture up Park St so no soy latte and no bean burger with potato wedges from Boston Tea Party. No amai udon at Wagamamas and definitely no tamarind and chilli pavlova for dessert. No lunch time buffet at Cosmo for £12.50 and no charcuterie platter at Browns. After wandering from a quarter to 12 until almost one thirty to try to find some lunch, I started to get fed up (no ironic pun intended). I couldn’t decide on what, but I wanted something amazing and it occurred to me that whatever I ate it would probably not be as wonderful as the next thing along. Nothing to do but let someone else decide.

So I took home a Caribbean pasty and a feta and spinach triangle from Royce Rolls and I shared them with my housemate who had his lunch at home. Lunch was his choice and accompanied by crisps and four Oreo cookies it all worked beautifully. There is so much from which to choose in Bristol that it can get very tiring. Was a great wander around town though.