Zen Japan is an authentic Late Night Licensed Japanese Sake & Tapas Bar (Izakaya) with a fun, relaxed & friendly atmosphere. Try our growing selection of Award winning Japanese Sake, Liquors & Alcohols that go perfectly with our tapas menu
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GUIDE 注意事項

Strictly NO outside food / drinks!
CASH ONLY & Pay when ordering (Bar style, No tabs)
All guests must purchase food - On Premise License (18+ ID Required)
To help us speed service, please decide order before approaching bar & order only a few drinks & dishes each round, so it fits on the small tables & stays hot/cold
Celebrating almost 4 years as Australia's 1st 100% Vegan Izakaya
Open until late - Midnight -ish, 2 hour table limit on busy nights
Please Note: Take Away not available


Nihonshu 日本酒
Sake / Rice Wines
180ml Tokkuri size (Carafe/Jug = 6 x 30ml cups)

Tokusen Karakuchi "Select Dry" (house Sake) 14.5% Room Temp
14.5%, SMV:+3, Acid:1.5, Polish:70%, Company: Tatsuuma-Honke Brewing, Region:Hyogo, Rice:Nihonbare & Kinuhikari
Chokara "Dry" 15% Warm
15%, Acid:1.6, Polish:70%, SMV:+4, Company: Tatsuuma-Honke Brewing, Region:Hyogo, Rice:Nihonbare
Shukuji Kinpaku "Celebration, Gold Flakes" 15% Warm
15%, Acid:1.3, Polish:70%, SMV:+4, Company: Hakutsuru, Region:Kobe, Rice:Gohyukumangoku
Hakushika Josen Ginjo "White Deer Select" 14% Cold
14%, SMV:+1, Acid:1.4, Polish:60%, Company: Tatsuuma-Honke Brewing, Region:Hyogo, Rice:Gohyukumangoku,
Bishonen Ginjo "Beautiful Boy" 15% Room Temp
15%, SMV:+2, Acid:1.7, Polish:55%, Company: Bishonen, Region:Kumamoto, Rice:Hinohikari
Wakatake Onikoroshi Daiginjo "Demon Slayer" 17% Cold
17%, SMV:+0, Polish:50%, Acid:1.4, Company: Omuraya, Region: Shizuoka, Rice: Achinokaori
Ippin Daiginjo "The One & Only" 16% Cold
16%, SMV:+4, Acid:1.5, Polish:50%, Company: Yoshikubo, Region:Ibaraki, Rice:Yamadanishiki
Yuzu-shu Nigori Sweet Citrus cloudy sake 13.5% 90ml on the rocks
13.5%, Yuzu Fruit (Citrus) Sweet Cloudy Sake, Company: Hakutsuru, Region:Kobe


Plum wines & plum sake
Kodawari 10% 90ml
Honkaku 10% 90ml
Kikkoman 11.5% 90ml
Hakutsuru 12.5% 90ml
Tantakatan Ume 12% 90ml
Usagi no Dance Ume Plum cloudy sake 5% Tokkuri 150ml


Japanese style Vodka
Densetsu Mugi Barley 25% 60ml
Tantakatan Shiso Perilla herb 20% 60ml
Kaido Satsumaimo Sweet Potato 25% 60ml


MIXED かくてる
Momo Peach liqueur with peach & aloe vera juice
Midori Mellon liqueur with Pineapple & Coconut juice
Lychee Shu-hi House Sake & Sweet Lychee tea


BEER ビール
The Premium Malts (Japan) On Tap Suntory Pilsner 5.5% 380ml Glass
Sapporo (Vietnam) premium lager 5% 355ml Bottle
Asahi Soukai (Australia) Mid strength, low carb 3.5% 330ml Bottle


On the rocks except Ramune
Ramune softdrink in marble top bottle
Lychee Tea Sweet
Emiri Momo Peach & aloe vera juice


New to Japanese Alcohol? Try our tasting paddle sets
Umeshu - Plum Wine 6 x 30mls
Shochu - Japanese Style Vodka 3 x 30mls
Nihonshu - Sake Rice Wine 6 x 30ml


Please note: 2 person set is shared tapas style, if you don't wish to eat off the same plates, please order 2 of the 1 person sets. No changes to sets
1 Person Dinner - Salada, Gyoza, Karee & Yuzu Koshou Udon (sweets extra)
+ Choose 1: Beer, House Sake, Plum Wine or any -Hi except Kakubin & Yuzu
2 Person Dinner - All tapas dishes except Onigiri
+ Choose 2: Beer, Sake, Plum Wine or any -Hi


TAPAS おつまみ
1 person tapas/entrée size portions - 3 to 4 dishes per person = a meal

Edamame Salted green soy beans
Salada Cabbage, carrot, cucumber & creamy sesame dressing
Gyoza Steamed vegetable dumplings

Onigiri Riceballs wrapped in Nori. Choose Flavours:
Miso Spicy sweet miso, Kombu soy & seaweed, Ume Plum paste, Shiitake Marinated mushrooms, Shiso Perilla leaf herb

Karee Japanese vegetable curry on rice
Teriyaki Organic tofu with soy & mirin marinade on rice
Ponzu Udon (Wheat) noodles with citrus & soy dressing
Yuzu Koshou Udon noodles in citrus, pepper & kombu stock

Toryufu Rich dark chocolate & matcha balls


To the best of our knowledge, All food & Drinks are 100% Vegan. Japanese food is unsuitable for wheat/gluten/soy allergies. We use nuts in some dishes


Guide to Nihonshu 日本酒

(Japanese Sake)


The 1st common misconception outside of Japan is that ‘Sake’ means rice wine, when in fact ‘Sake’ actually just means 'Alcohol’ in Japanese. When referring to Japanese rice wine in Japan, it’s called 'Nihonshu’ 日本酒

The 2nd common misconception is that sake is really strong but most are around the same alcohol strength as red wines. With some being weaker or stronger. Some people confuse Shochu with Nihonshu. Shochu is a distilled alcohol with differing brewing techniques, ingredients & strengths. Also when you see a high percentage on a bottle like 70% it may actually be referring to how much the rice was polished

The 3rd common misconception is all sake should be hot. In fact different Nihonshu varieties & grades may be served cold, room temperature or warm. Your Sake Sommelier or Bar staff can recommend the best temperature for your particular sake

Sake is made of Sakamai (sake rice), which is polished (milled) to remove the outer layers containing protein & fats, & expose the pure starch centre of the rice grain. Proteins & fats cannot be digested by the sake yeasts as Yeast needs the sugars which have been converted from the starch. The outer layers of rice, if left in place, will stunt fermentation process & contribute a lot of “off” flavour to sake. The more the rice is polished, the more proteins & fats are stripped away, the more refined the flavour will be. The Seimaibuai (polish rate) is usually printed on the label as a percentage rate. The lower the percentage the more the rice has been polished. Anything between 100% & 70% is usually not printed. The highest grade Daiginjo sake can have seimaibuai as low as 35%. There are also differences distinctive to each Sake-making region in Japan & are said to be more than 2,700 breweries

Premium sake can only contain Sakamai (sake rice), Mizu (water), Kōji (the mould used to convert the rice to starch) & sake yeast. In some instances, a small amount of distilled alcohol is added at the end of the brewing process, just before the sake is pressed & stored for maturation. That’s all, no preservatives, no additional sugar, no flavourings

The 2 categories

1) Junmai 純米 (pure rice sake).
2)Non-junmai (tiny amount of distilled alcohol added).

The 4 main grades

Best: Daiginjō 大吟醸. Junmai Daiginjō & Daiginjō are the top prized sake & both are considered to be of similar finesse. Daiginjō sake must be made from rice that has been milled down to 50% of the original grain or sometimes as much as 35%. Best served chilled or room temperature

2nd: Ginjō 吟醸 Ginjō & Junmai Ginjō sake must be made from rice that has been milled down to at least 60% seimaibuai (which means that 40% has been ground away). Best served chilled or room temperature. Daiginjō & Ginjō are brewed using very labour-intensive techniques & is matured for longer to bring out complexity of flavour, refined aromas, delicateness & balance.

3rd: Junmai 純米 & Honjōzō 本醸造 Are also premium sake that feature more robust flavours but less aromatic. They are usually cheaper, but their cleaner, less aromatic profile makes them quite compatible with food. Junmai can be any milling rate, but in most cases, good junmai will have seimaibuai of 70% or less. Honjozo has a small amount of alcohol added in the final fermentation process & is usually lighter & more fragrant than Junmai. Best room temperature or warm

4th: futsū-shu regular/house The remaining 75% of all sake brewed is “table sake”. Never contains preservatives, but may have organic acids & sugars added to it, for better flavour as well as additional distilled alcohol. Can be drunk cold/room temp/warm depending on preference

Other Sake types

濁り酒 Nigori – “Cloudy sake”. Some of the fermented solids “kasu” are allowed back in during sake pressing, giving the sake cloudy-white appearance. Nigori sake will be sweeter and milder, & a good match with spicy food

生 Nama (Namazake) – unpasteurised sake. Has a certain “zing” due to all the living enzymes that still remain, it feels more effervescent, zingy, sparkly. It must always be refrigerated.

原酒 Genshu – undiluted sake. Sake is naturally 20% alcohol, but most of it is diluted with filtered water to bring the alcohol content down to 15-17%, to enhance the experience of flavours. More often than not, genshu sake will only be sold at the brewery door, as a souvenir. In some rare instances, however, the highly skilled brewer will manipulate the fermentation process to reach the peak alcohol content of only about 16-17%, & deliver a very special sake.

Muroka – unfiltered (most sake is filtered with charcoal powder to remove colours & off flavours). Muroka sake will be darker colour, more flavour

Kōshu – aged sake. Honey-like flavours, darker colour. Almost brandy-like. 99.9% of sake is never matured

Acidity & sake meter value (SMV or Nihonshudo)

SMV or Nihonshudo refers to the specific density of the sake compared to the density of water. The range is about -6 to +12. These days, +3 considered to be a neutral sake. It is an indicator of sweetness vs dryness. The higher, the dryer. So, anything above +3 is on the dry side, & anything below +3 is on the sweet side.

Acidity ranges from 0.7 to 2.0. Acidity affects the feeling of dryness, but also helps flavour to spread. The level of acidity will not always match the presence of acidic flavour in sake, as other factors can balance out or enhance the perception of acidity. Some sake will taste sharp & cutting, even though acidity is on the lower end of the scale.

The two parameters – SMV & acidity – need to be considered together. Is SMV very low, indicating sweetness, but acidity is high? Then the sake will taste dryer than the label suggests. If it is both technically dry (SMV above +3) & acidic (let’s say acidity is 1.7), then clearly you will be getting a sake which will taste dryer & sharper.