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Published January 10th 2013
Dive into a bountiful bowl of Ramen or a Bento box or two
After a quick trip to Bunnings to purchase the makings of a bookshelf with my handy-man boyfriend on a Saturday morning, the sausage sizzle was by-passed as we exited the hectic hardware house and the mission was on for a tasty, relaxing lunch.
Just a short drive down the highway was one of the mini meccas of Asian cuisine, Eastwood. It was a bit of a warm day out, so we decided some nice fresh sushi was in order and one place we knew we could find some quality sushi was Zenya Noodle Bar, Ramen bar and Japanese restaurant. Of course, it was clear from the outset that once we arrived at our feasting destination we would be swayed into sampling a few of the other treats on the menu as well, as per usual.
On arrival we were greeted and seated promptly by a friendly host, which got our lunch off to a pleasant start. The decor is simple and appealing with lots of deep browns and long comfy bench seating along the wall with sturdy wooden seats to face. After taking a seat and a leisurely look at the menu, it was time to order.
I selected the Ton-Toro Bento box, which consisted of pieces of pork in a Zenya ginger sauce, 3 slices of salmon sashimi, 2 gyozas, a little bowl of seaweed salad and a green salad. The bento box also comes with a serving of miso soup and a bowl of rice, all for the totally affordable price of $13.80. The ginger sauce on the pork was lovely and mild and using the rice to sop it all up is recommended. The pork itself was a little fatty, but it's in the style that I find it served in most Asian restaurants so that wasn't a big surprise. The seaweed salad was refreshing and tasty and even though it was a warm day, the miso soup was super satisfying and full of flavour. I just love miso soup, it's such a yummy little item.
On the other side of the table, on order for my boyfriend was the Cha-shu Ramen. He is a total fiend for soupy noodles, so the ramen here is always a must for him. The Cha-shu Ramen has a soy flavoured broth topped with bean sprouts, nori paper, dried mushrooms, bamboo shoots, shallots, a plump boiled egg and some juicy roast pork. You better be hungry if you order the ramen because the serving size is certainly ample. The noodles are at slurping perfection and the soup is so savoury and moreish. At $14.80 it is well worth it indeed.
Now, as we did actually set off to Zenya for sushi, we thought we'd get a little serving to share. We're suckers for soft shell crab, so the Spider Roll was our sushi of choice. A simple roll of soft shell crab, lettuce, ginger, sesame, mayo and sweet soy sauce. What really made this soft shell crab sushi hit the spot, was the fact that the crab in the centre was served warm. I would not have thought heating the crab would make it more delicious, I'd have thought having all the sushi chilled would be best, but the warm soft crab was definitely a winner.
The range of Japanese goodies is great, with bento boxes, ramen, udon, sushi/sashimi plus much more. They also have a favourite dessert of mine, green tea or black sesame ice cream. If you join their loyalty club you receive a complimentary dessert on your birthday which is nothing to be scoffed at, a free dessert is a nice little gift indeed. I joined and enjoyed my black sesame ice cream with a smile.
The location is convenient, walking distance from the station, but there's also a fair bit of parking around the place. The service is prompt and efficient but if you turn up on a Friday or Saturday night you may have to suffer a bit of a wait to be seated as it's a popular haunt and fills up very quickly. It is worth the wait though, I've always been satisfied with my meal and my experience at the lovely Zenya Noodle Bar.