Nihonbashi Zen Restaurant Review

Despite the big sign of the restaurant plastered at the entrance, I almost missed the entrance of the restaurant if it wasn’t for a girl standing outside with a menu (I wonder for such a reputable restaurant, if that is necessary). I guess it’s easy to miss it as the restaurant is located at the basement with only a narrow staircase leading the way down. This chef owned restaurant is best known for its kushiyaki. Kushiyaki is an array of grilled skewers of both poultry and non-poultry dishes. The more commonly known term ‘yakitori’ refers to grilled chicken on skewer. However,both terms are used interchangeably. Nihonbashi Zen is also known for its imported sake all the way from Japan.

With an extensive choices of kushiyaki, we’ve decided to order a varieties of both poultry and non-poultry dishes to try. The seafood kushiyaki consisting of scallops and prawns are fresh and the scallops were done beautifully.The flesh was succulent and grilled to perfection.

Grilled scallops

Grilled prawns

For poultry, we decided on the traditional yakitori and grilled chicken with wasabi mayonnaise. The yakitori is very well marinated and the chicken was tender with crisp on the grilled side adding natural flavour to the skewer.


This dish broke a smile on my face. What could that be? It is none other than the grilled eggplant( A surprise coming from a meat lover!). I could never expect grilled eggplant could retain so much flavours. This grilled eggplant is so sumptuous with tender flesh packed with flavours as you bite into it. A must order!

Grilled eggplant

We also ordered a platter of sashimi which we had at starter. Although the sashimi is fresh, I prefer a firm texture to melt in your mouth sashimi.

Sashimi Platter

To make sure we have a balanced meal, we ordered a tuna salad. The tuna was creamy and balanced by the salad leaves. Yummy as a dish of its own too.

Tuna salad

For the ending, we finished off with a green tea tiramisu. Can’t really go wrong with tiramisu ( It’s one of my favourite all-time dessert).

Green tea tiramisu

The quality of the food is definitely irrefutable. However, the service can be better.Although the restaurant is small, the waitress often missed out calls. At one point, I watched with amusement horror as one of the napkins of a customers caught on fire. The waitress was holding the burning napkin with alarm and the guest in turn took it off her and stomped it on the floor. Phew.

If you are a big fan of yakitori or kushiyaki and don’t mind paying for quality food, then this is the restaurant for you!

Nihonbashi Zen Restaurant

87 Little Bourke Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

(03) 9639 7050

Open:Lunch : Thursday & Friday

Dinner: Tuesday – Sunday

Late: Tuesday – Saturday

Price: $$$

Entrees: $7.00 – $26.00

Mains: $25.00 – $39.00

Desserts: $8.00 – $9.50

Set Kushiyaki menu: $19.50 – $24.50

Cuisine: Japanese

Description: Restaurant

Ambience: 6.5

Service: 5.0

Food: 8.0

Value: 5.0

My Rating: 6.0

Nihonbashi Zen on Urbanspoon

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