Zenhouse on Bent Street in Adelaide is a branch of Teashrine, which was first established in Alice Springs in 2003. It provides a wide range of tea and Asian dishes as well as a few Western dishes. As suggested by the restaurant's name all the dishes offered are vegetarian, making it a great dining place for those who do not eat meat or those who just want a nice change from meat dishes.
Looking very much like the dish it is based on, the vegetarian substitute used in Zenhouse's Sambal Not-Cod Fish has a texture that is very much like fish with their sambal sauce giving the dish a potent spicy flavour. The carrot slices scattered on the "fish" helped to make the dish look more vibrant as well as give a bit of texture when eaten with the "fish".
Sambal Not-Cod Fish (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
One of the salt & pepper dishes available, their 'Salt & Pepper Deep Fried Abalone Mushrooms had pieces of battered abalone mushrooms which were fried to golden brown with juicy interiors. The salt & pepper seasoning enhanced the flavour of the mushrooms with the inclusion of five spice powder giving the dish its distinct savoury flavour. If you prefer, variations of the dish using tofu and eggplant are also available.
Salt & Pepper Deep Fried Abalone Mushrooms (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Meaning "mixture" in Malay, Rojak is a traditional Malaysian salad made with fruit and vegetables dressed in a spicy, sweet and sour peanut sauce of tamarind, shrimp paste, sugar and fresh chilli. The various vegetables and pineapple used in Zenhouse's rojak salad had a refreshing taste with the peanut sauce bringing out their flavour. Much like the ones in Malaysia, this salad also includes fried dough sticks to add a delightful crunchy element.
Very similar to the Indonesian dish known as Gado-Gado, the fried tofu used in Zenhouse's tofu salad had a nice firm texture with the cucumber, carrots and bean sprouts adding a refreshing element to the dish. Compared to the peanut sauce used in the rojak salad, the peanut dressing used in the tofu salad was thicker, with a more savoury flavour.
Tofu Salad (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Normally made with fish paste, the vegetarian version of Otak-Otak served at Zenhouse was cooked just right with the spices giving a flavour similar to its inspiration. To eat it, remove the toothpicks securing the banana leaf wrappings, unwrap it and push the Otak-Otak onto your plate. Zenhouse only serves the non-spicy version. As we prefer the spicy version, we hope the restaurant will add that option to their menu in future.
Vegetarian Otak-Otak (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Having enjoyed duck at various Chinese restaurants, we were glad that the 'Red Roasted Mock Duck' had the flavour and texture that you would expect from perfectly cooked roast duck. The mock duck came served on a bed of lettuce which helped to balance out the rich flavour.
Red Roasted Mock Duck (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Although we did not find it to be as nice as their mock duck, the soya fibre used in their 'Barbecue Not Pork Rib' still had a wonderful smoky flavour from the barbecue sauce that it was tossed in. It also had pieces of capsicum which was a good partner to the soya fibre.
Barbecue Not Pork Rib (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Great on its own or eaten with a few lighter dishes, the noodles in their 'Noodle Clay Pot' were cooked to al dente with the vegetables having the right amount of bite to them. The sauce the noodles and vegetables were cooked in enhanced their flavour. It is advisable to take some care when eating this dish as it comes out piping hot.
Noodle Clay Pot (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
While they appear as part of their lunch menu, taro rolls can be ordered at any time of the day. The taro filling on the pastries was not too sweet with the crispy rice pastry wrapped around it providing a good contrast to the softer filling.
Taro Rolls (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Western dishes offered by Zenhouse include a selection of vegetarian burgers and schnitzels. We have not tried any of their Western dishes yet but what was served to other customers look to be rather scrumptious. Zenhouse also offers a wide range of tea which can be enjoyed at the cafe or you can choose to buy tea leaves for brewing the tea at home.