The Zenya Noodle Bar may be more popular with the twenty somethings for hot piping ramen soups influenced by Kyushu and Tokyo traditions, but I had the opportunity to try their bento or lunchbox combinations recently. Zenya is located along Rowe Street in the north-western Sydney suburb of Eastwood -and attracts a fair share of Macquarie University students and families of Asian background who dominate the demographics in that corner of Australia. The lighting is low and the space can be limited. There is one Caucasian Australian guy working there as a staff member, to provide a contrast to the Asian-centric atmosphere. Above image, the Toro-Toro bento set, with mains served as deep fried pork cutlets with batter. Clockwise from 10am for the box - gyoza dumplings, marinated seaweed, tomato and onion salad, salmon shashimi and the pork cutlets.
Leafy vegetables,onion slices and tomato cuts predominate the lightly dressed salad piece in the bento box.(above). Below, we had green tea in a pot to accompany the miso soup.
Miso soup is mainstay of Japanese entrees, and this was also part of the Kabayaki Unagi bento that I ordered for lunch. The mains were grilled eel fillets, whilst Kabayaki refers to the practice of having seafood, such as eel fillets, marinated in a sweet sauce - they originate from Japan's Edo period.
The set lunch also came with salmon shashimi.
I was impressed with their gyoza (above image) or pan fried dumplings. Of Chinese origin, these dumplings utilise wonton wrappers and ground or minced pork. The fillings are infused with a variety of garnishings before being used - a blend of Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard,spring onions and chillies. The completed and cooked dumplings are often taken with a dipping mix - made with a combination of soya, plum, black bean and peanut sauces.
I could not resist finishing up the meal with two selections of Japanese-styled ice cream serves ,one flavoured by sesame seeds and the other by green tea.