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The Zen Noodle Bar at Bury St. in Edmunds, England

The Zen Noodle Bar at Bury St. in Edmunds, England (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

The Zen Noodle Bar at Bury St. in Edmunds, England

The Zen Noodle Bar at Bury St. in Edmunds, England (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

The Zen Noodle Bar specials board.

The Zen Noodle Bar specials board. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

BURY ST. EDMUNDS — In largely rural Suffolk County, there aren’t very many restaurants that call for a reservation. But there aren’t many eateries in Suffolk like the Zen Noodle Bar.

Located behind the Angel Hotel on a quiet, mostly residential street in the city center, the Zen Noodle Bar has been serving savory Asian dishes to discerning customers for more than three years.

The restaurant boasts a contemporary, chic interior complete with immobile bench chairs, a vaulted ceiling and an open view to the kitchen that allows guests to peek into a world of culinary singularity.

“We make everything from scratch,” said manager Ming Tang. “We make fresh noodles every day. Our customers can taste the difference.”

Tang said the rotating specials are a can’t-miss for new customers.

On a recent visit, the specials included Thai red beef curry served with steamed rice, roast duck in an orange sauce served with egg noodles and king prawns (shrimp) in a Thai chili sauce served with egg fried rice. All three run just under 8 pounds ($16).

Tang said the popular perception is that Zen specializes in Thai food, but he stressed the 60-item menu includes Chinese and Japanese dishes as well. Most of the main dishes run between 6 pounds ($12) and 9 pounds ($18).

Zen also imports beers from across Asia so guests can wash down their spicy Singapore noodles or sliced roast pork ho fun with some brew from China, Japan or Thailand. The bar also serves wine and mixed drinks, but there is no draft beer.

The conversion rate means the dishes may seem a bit pricey to an American wallet, but the prices are only marginally more expensive than take-away Chinese restaurants in Bury St. Edmunds.

The relatively reasonable prices and the convenient location translate into a widespread popularity that demands a reservation on the weekend to snag a table at the 112-seat restaurant.

“Bury needed a restaurant like this,” Tang explained when asked about Zen’s appeal. “There’s nothing else like Zen in town.”

Call ahead (phone: 01284 723559), reserve a table and enjoy some of the tastiest food this side of Ipswich.

To see previous After Hours reviews, go to stripes.com/afterhours

Location: 6 Angel Lane in central Bury St. Edmunds

Entertainment: None

Food: It’s all made from scratch, and you can taste the difference.

Drinks: Wine, mixed drinks and a wide selection of imported bottled beer

Clientele: Just about anyone who loves delicious Asian food.

Dress code: none

Hours: Noon – 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 – 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Closed Sunday.


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