Ren Japanese Restaurant, Eight Mile Plains, Brisbane

4:41:00 PM

Located in the Runcorn Shopping Plaza on Warrigal Rd, opposite Warrigal Square, a few variety of different restaurants are offered including Korean BBQ, Korean Dessert, Chinese hot pot and 'Ren', a Japanese restaurant amongst it. A few tables were filled but the restaurant weren't fully filled and this was on a weekend. The menu had a good range of different Japanese cuisines with reasonable prices.

'Chirashi Don & Udon Combo' ($18.80) consisted of Chirashi Don, Udon, Japanese pickles and Chawanmushi (Japanese Egg Custard). It caught my eye whilst the special of the day also did, but I chose the Lunch Combo set instead. It took quite a while for the dishes to come to our table but when it did, my first impression of the Chirashi Don & Udon Combo was the way they presented each of the dishes and also, the Chirashi Don looked a bit bland in a way. As for the Chawanmushi, it is not everyone's taste, but it is a custard which is made out of an egg mixture flavoured with either soy sauce, mirin, dashi and sometimes includes numerous ingredients such as boiled shrimp or shiitake mushrooms or lily root or fish cake. As for the Chawanmushi served along with the set, it consisted of shiitake mushrooms.
The Chirashi Don was basically a bowl of rice topped with a variety of seafood sashimi. The sashimi was quite generous, slices of Kingfish, Tuna, Salmon with a piece of scallop, a thin slice of lemon and a thin slice of Tamagoyaki (Japanese Omelette). Caviar was also served along with the sashimi rice. At first, I could see that the sashimi was quite thinly cut and not as chunky as I thought it would have been since I have eaten Chirashi Don elsewhere which serves thickly sliced sashimi. Second, a downturn for the dish for me was the lack of sauce, in this case, no sauce. A side of sesame oil or soy sauce would have been nice for both sashimi and the rice.
The Udon was placed in a small bowl on the side which consisted of Wakame (Seaweed) and spring onions, along with Tempura crisps which could have been nicer if it was not combined in with the udon straight away since it kills the crispiness and also the taste. The tempura crisps could have been served on the side and be put into the Udon as much or as little in accords to customers' taste and like. The Udon soup was tasty whilst the wakame was a nice touch, however the tempura crisps became very soggy.
'Chawanmushi' - Japanese Egg Custard
'Tonkotsu' ($16.5) came with thinly crumbed pork loin, a bowl of rice, side dishes, miso soup and salad (shredded cabbage with mayonnaise sauce). The presentation of the tonkotsu and the shredded cabbage was an eye-pleaser.
The tonkotsu sauce was quite strong to my liking but the grounded sesame seeds given could also be a great combination to the dish and the sauce. The shredded cabbage was served cold which was quite refreshing but it didn't quite feel right combining it with the tonkotsu in a way, unless you weren't eating the rice and just planning on having a tonkotsu salad.
The tonkotsu itself had a nice texture and crumb coating on the outside, however I found the meat itself to be a bit dry and was not as juicy as I usually like it. It was quite a piece of lean meat so I guess for those who do love their lean meats, will like this tonkotsu. As for me, I like my pork still having that bit of fat in it and not too lean, especially for tonkotsu.
'Cold Soba' ($14.5) consisted of a plate of soba served on top of shaved ice, assorted tempura, 3 pieces of sushi and a dipping sauce. Though I rarely order Cold Soba in restaurants, I know they are quite yummy in their own way. Maybe it's just me, I would order a different dish if I had to choose between it, unless I am feeling up for Cold soba at the time of ordering or eating. The sushi rolls was served with a small dollop of wasabi and a few ginger slices. The sushi roll seemed to have been your typical California roll (Seafood stick, avocado and mayonnaise).
I found that the Assorted Tempura could have been bigger and more than the portion given since you would be able to eat the Tempura within a few minutes and still have most of your Cold Soba left to eat with only the dipping sauce.

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