Satisfaction Guaranteed At Portomaso's Zen

Did someone say black sesame and wasabi ice cream?


So last week another birthday rolled around and was cause for some adult-only dining and celebration.

After some recent hits and misses (mostly misses), I was determined not to take risks on this momentous occasion, so after careful deliberation and research we chose Zen at Portomaso. We had been there once before so knew what to expect. Plus easy parking, a child-free environment and most importantly fantastic food. 

We had a game plan in place before we arrived so we were excited to set it in motion. Word to the wise, don't come here if you are on a budget for the simple reason that having to restrict your choices from such a vast array of delicious food is absolute torture and you don't deserve that!

We ordered one of everything from the starter section that didn't contain raw fish (I've got a bun in the oven): some Japanese spring rolls, sushi made with cooked items and some items from the specials of the day. A parade of little plates were brought to the table in quick succession, beautifully presented with accompanying dipping sauces and each bite-size morsel perfectly balanced in flavour and simply delicious. 

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The deep-fried aubergine with miso is a winner as is all the awesome sushi. Being restricted from eating raw fish was probably a good thing in our case as self control is not a quality either of us possess.

The only thumbs down was for the tofu which was an experimental order. I had attempted to cook tofu many, many years ago and it was gross. It has been on my "rather not' list since then. However, I'm always one to give food a second chance and I thought this would be the place to change my mind. Sadly not. It still misses the mark for me - still bland, still weird in texture and quite frankly taking up valuable food real estate in an already cramped space.

"The deep-fried aubergine with miso is a winner... The only thumbs down was for the tofu."

Inevitably we arrive at that part of the evening where we should have politely declined dessert but one look at the menu and we knew that if we quit now we wouldn't be able to live with ourselves. So one Japanese cheesecake and some black sesame and wasabi ice cream scoops found their way to our table. 

The cheesecake is lovely and creamy like a baked New York cheesecake but without the biscuit base and is served with a light whipped sour cream. The wasabi ice cream was good and familiar and didn't surprise me but I didn't know what to expect from the black sesame which I thoroughly enjoyed - not too sweet, yet rich like chocolate and roasted like coffee - it confused my brain which I like. Double scoop for me next time. 

The bill for two including tips was €150.00 which is similar to what we paid the last time we were there but worth every cent for the beautiful ambiance, attentive service and first class food.

We walked out planning our next visit as the whole experience was immensely satisfying and worthy of a Franco Debono Haiku if ever there was one.

For those not expecting, the sushi is phenomenal too.

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