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Published December 19th 2016
An Unexpected Oasis
For those in the know, Zen Oasis, is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in New South Wales, nestled away in the Southern Highlands.
Most day-trippers might make the journey to historic Berrima for a tour of the Gaol but would you expect to find a peaceful oriental oasis just a few minutes drive from the township, set on acreage that was formerly home to the Woolshed Restaurant? No? Then I'll let you in on the secret.
Thankfully the rustic 1948 woolshed still remains on the property but it now hosts a 'word of mouth' favourite for lovers of vegetarian food and oriental cuisine, set amidst beautifully landscaped gardens with unique statues dotted across the parklands.
Zen Oasis Restaurant's magnificent buffet is only open to the public on weekends and for private functions and regulars and locals know that it's best to book your table well in advance to avoid disappointment. The experience is excellent for groups, both small and large, and the 1.5 hour drive from Sydney makes it the sort of weekend trip that lends itself to a special occasion.
On arrival at the gardens, there is plenty of parking but the crowds know to come early, so it is best to arrive as close to opening time as possible, from 11.30am. After all, there is nothing quite like being the first to descend on a freshly laid buffet but as long as you've booked your table, there is really no need to worry; the service is excellent and the cold and hot dishes are constantly being replenished. Even the sushi is made fresh on view for guests and there is a great selection on offer.
A delectable range of mains served fresh and beautifully presented
Zen's oriental buffet service offers a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options across three stations (entrée, main course and dessert) as well as self-service bars for water, juice and Chinese tea. The restaurant is not licensed but guests don't visit for a boozy lunch; the experience is all about the quality of the food and the healthy options on offer, with authentic Asian flavours.
At $35/head for adults and $18/head for children 4 and over, this 'all you can eat' menu is tremendous value and you won't come away hungry. Fortunately, there is ample opportunity to walk off your meal after lunch and you'll be drawn to taking a stroll around the enticing gardens with a mixture of fairy tale and Zen-inspired fixtures, and special festive inspired decorations over Christmas and New Year.
A Zen Buddhist monk sets the tone for the beautiful parklands
If you've been dreaming of that day to get out of the city and recharge your batteries, Zen Oasis will provide you with the perfect opportunity to do so. It's a clean, healthy, family-friendly buffet restaurant in beautiful surroundings. An exemplar of the concept of Zen: - harmony for your mind, body and spirit.