Belfast Telegraph

Lunch isn't for wimps: House of Zen, St Anne's Square, Belfast

Sushi comes in only two forms in Belfast, from the cardboard stiff supermarket variety to high-end restaurant variety, with very little in between.

Normally this reporter is unable to aim any higher than the former so when the opportunity arrives for a rattle at the latter, it needs to be grasped with both hands.

Now you might say that Zen, or House of Zen as it should be properly referred to, is a Chinese restaurant rather than Japanese and therefore sushi shouldn't be on the menu, but a bit of research has scotched that theory.

Apparently sushi was widespread in southern China rather before being introduced to Japan so you can enjoy the six-piece lunchtime deal safe in the knowledge that you're not mixing your traditions.

And in any case, Zen doesn't restrict itself to food of Chinese origin on its lunch menu and dips its toe into other regions such as Thai.

The mains are at the high end of Northern Ireland's Chinese cuisine and good value at £6.50, the service is efficient and pleasant without being overbearing and the atmosphere takes you away from the busy streets of Belfast to a swanky Beijing saki bar on a Saturday night.

But it's off the main menu where the sashimi and sushi sit and it was to the six-piece platter of the latter that your scribe plumped for on this occasion.

It didn't disappoint and softened taste buds which had been assaulted over the last few months by the rock-hard, tasteless supermarket sushi. The only problem was, and this was more to do with the writer's appetite rather than a fault of the restaurant, it left me yearning for a few more pieces, but then that's probably a good way to leave a restaurant, particularly during a busy working week.

Zen, I'll be back and this time I'm going for the 12-piece.

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