For the past five years, Ramadan has always been the month that I wish and pray to be cloned into more than one person or rather have an army of cute yellow minions to finish off and tie loose ends. The day is literally not enough to do everything that I need and would want to do. Most of the holy month for me is spent juggling two jobs while trying to attend iftar gatherings, spending time with family and trying to focus on me and being in touch with my spiritual side. Despite being as busy as I am, Ramadan always gives off that mode of peace and for a moment, time takes a pause so you can enjoy the finer things in life.
Stuck in this habit for years in Ramadan has made it almost impossible to invite friends over and just enjoy quality time. I was contemplating about it for a while especially about a certain group of friends, we go way back to my freshman year meaning over 11 years ago and I haven’t not even once had the pleasure of inviting them to anything given that I’m the one married to my job as they so rightfully put it. So this time around, I decided that I wanted to do things differently for a change. Within the time I was thinking of the place to pick, I received a phone call from the owner of Zen Bistro inviting me to try out the restaurant. Zen Bistro is located at Oman Avenues Mall and had its soft opening a few days before Ramadan. It was the sign that this idea in my head must be set out in motion. The majority of the group never had the chance to visit Oman Avenues Mall let alone try out the restaurant. This was perfect but I was told that because it is in its soft opening stage, the full menu was still not yet ready so appetizers and sushi were the only options available. This wasn’t an issue since even though the group is not a fan of sushi; they are willing to give everything a try at least once which is always music to my ears; it would guarantee that the outing is memorable no matter what. The menu was set, number of guests confirmed and all I had to do was to wait for the 7th of July to come around.
We arrived a good 10 minutes before the call for prayer. Oman Avenues Mall was almost empty but for a few employees of the mall and retail shops. Zen Bistro is located on the second floor at the far end of the food court. The place inside is quite small which wasn't enough for all of us, so our seating area was kept outside. It was a nice change with lots of greenery surrounding the area and quite spacious even if it were packed. We started off with the date maki rolls to break our fast and they were absolutely delicious. Shortly after, the appetizers began rolling in one by one.
|Prawn Money Bags|
|Prawn Wasabi, not as spicy as you may think|
|Siomai Chicken Dimsum|
After the scrumptious and delicious starters, some salads and Tom Yum soup followed before the main star of the show arrived; sushi! And what an amazing vast range of assorted sushi did we have. The good thing about Zen Bistro is if you aren't the biggest fan of raw sushi, well you don't have to fear because they have cooked sushi as well, and the selection was quite big. This was something I stressed on from the beginning as many of my friends have never tried sushi before and let's face having raw fish is an acquired taste so cooked sushi was a safe bet just in case.
|Crab and Cucumber Salad|
|Thai Beef Salad|
|Isn't the presentation lovely?|
Come two and a half hours later and we all had stuffed tummies unable to move from the amount of food we had. My friends gave the place a rating of 8.5/10 only because the ACs in the mall weren't on and we were sweating in the beginning before having our cold drinks. The food was totally delicious but their favorite of the entire meal? Dynamite Prawns, Prawn Wasabi, Thai Beef Salad and the Crispy Salmon Skin Roll. Those dishes were a hit and finished in a matter of seconds. For a group of 14 women who almost 90% of them haven't tried sushi before, this was amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better way to have a gathering where the new experience of sushi for them is always going to be related to iftar at Zen Bistro. They loved it to bits and are now planning on a second visit sometime after Eid once Zen Bistro is fully operational with a full menu to offer.
|Busy taking pics|
|Ended it with a group photo with the Zen Bistro crew|
|Fun times at Zen Bistro|
So my recommendation would be if you are looking for a new Sushi / Asian place to fall in love with Zen Bistro is the place to go. And according to their website they have largest sushi menu in the Middle East, that I can agree on hands down. Thank you to Khalid Al Suleimany and the Zen Bistro management for the opportunity of hosting my first iftar gathering in years at the restaurant. It was definitely an experience that was worth it.
For more info about Zen Bistro's pricing and menu at Oman Avenues Mall, click here.