TerraZen Centre is an organic vegan restaurant tucked away in one of the many alley’s of Amsterdam. Nothing glamorous, there is no sign out front of the restaurant with its name on it. Instead, the restaurant’s name is handwritten on the glass portion of the door. Inside, the place portrays a hippie vibe with Japanese decor. There are only four tables, and we sat in the back near the cashier and kitchen on a sofa, where we dined on a coffee table. We knew as we sat down that the place was a small business. The owner, we believe, was the mastermind behind the recipes. I heard his Caribbean accent in the back as he took orders from the waitress and whipped our meals together. His young son operated the cashier, while one friendly waitress handled all of the ordering and servings.
For food, this little restaurant offers a unique variety of Japanese and Caribbean fusion food. Interesting combo, right? We didn’t know what to expect, but most of the items on the menu were of Japanese dishes. We both ordered the Yakisoba noodle dish and shared spring rolls for an appetizer. Surprisingly, the spring rolls were fried. I expected fresh spring rolls, but no big deal. Afterall, we were on vacation. The rolls were coated with Caribbean spices, and the bed of greens beneath it had a tangy sauce that tasted a bit like soy sauce. It was quite tasty, and we warmed up to it quickly.
For the noodles, we tasted the Caribbean spices there as well with a spicy flair. Of course, we appreciated that. The food was delicious. But, if I had to pick on something, I’d say it was too oily and salty. However, I washed it down with some ginger tea.
Lastly, dessert did not look appealing in the glass case next to the cashier register. We wanted the homemade chocolate cake anyway. When our slices of cake appeared, they were dressed with a white vanilla sauce. We were pleased about that. You can’t always judge something by the look of it — because that chocolate goodness was amazing! It tasted more like a brownie than a cake.
The dining experience was casual and laid back. At the end of the night, closing time, the owner stepped out of the kitchen and joined a friend of his at a table, while they conversed and rolled up their cigarettes. If you’re expecting fancy, you won’t get it here. If you’re expecting good food, your expectation will be met.