When I think how many times I’ve driven along Albany Highway and past Seoul Buffet, I actually can’t believe it has taken me so long to finally eat here.
One thing I did know going in, this place is incredibly busy. So thankfully we booked a table for Jeremy, me and my parents for this public holiday night. The set up is impressive – each table has a built in barbeque and also a stove for steamboat. It means you can operate both systems at the same time, all for the impressively reasonable price of $40 per person. This is all you can eat, and eat we did!
Mum works quickly, so while dad, Jeremy and I were perusing the staggering selection of meats to cook on our barbeque top, mum was already busy creating our steamboat masterpiece.
She’s raided the steamboat buffet with savvy; beelining for the juicy looking prawns, fish balls, dumplings, fish fillets, tofu cubes and vegies. Because we all love chilli she’s also put a nice level of chilli oil and seeds in to enhance the provided stock’s flavour. And right underneath it all sits a wonderfully delicious bed of glass noodles which soak up the chilli and are like heaven to eat.
Though I’m more excited about the barbeque meats, I have to admit the steamboat is damn good. It’s a plethora of warming ingredients and different textures and flavours. We eat it all up because if you take too much food and don’t finish it, the restaurant warns that they implement a surcharge of 25% for wastage. And fair enough!
While we’re chomping away I’ve somehow fallen into the designated griller (I made the mistake of picking up the tongs first). We attack the barbeque meats buffet with serious intent – taking three plates sky high with various marinated meats to grill.
We start off with wafer thin slices of ox tongue. This takes less than a minute to cook right, so it’s a great starter for us all to munch on. It tastes great on it’s own but since Korean food is all about the sauce, we dunk our slices in the thick chilli sauce they have on offer at the buffet. My mouth is tingling and demanding more meat!
Next up is the marinated octopus, which slides between our tongs and coats the grill. The smell is amazing and the smoke starts to rise quickly from the seafood which clings to our skin, hair and clothes. Why did I wash my hair before coming here?! Oh wait I don’t care because the octopus tastes so good! It’s fresh, chewy and really enjoyable. It leaves it’s marinade all over the grill which quickly turns from silver to brown to black. Thankfully the staff come and change the grill plate for us a couple times during our meal to ensure our food can continue to cook properly.
Other meats we enjoy are the marinated pork belly (my favourite for the night! It’s fatty, tender and sweet in it’s sauce), beef, lamb and chicken. They’re all so easy to cook and taste better than I could have imagined. The thin strips of meat are consistently tender and flavoursome. Each bite is explosive. The marinated fish is also something worth mentioning – it’s soft, flaky and worth trying. We also grab some giant prawns and toss them on at the end after our million trips of selecting more meat to grill, which get a nice char on them and marry well with the selection of sauces available.
Seoul Buffet basically offers everything you could really wish for. There’s not just the barbeque meat and steamboat buffet selections, but there’s also trays of rice, Korean rice cake (a glutinous wobbly snack that lines your stomach), chicken wings, kimchi, pickled vegetables and crunchy lettuce to wrap around your meat and kimchi.
For $40 a head, Seoul Buffet is great value. It’s the sort of place that you should take your time in, slowly indulging in course after course (many of those being that wonderful pork belly) while chatting away over some cheap drinks. It’s somehow fun to be cooking your own meat even though at home you’d consider it a chore! And then when it’s all done, they have a freezer of ice cream which you can help yourself to since it’s part of the buffet price. Yes, this place definitely surprised me with just how great it is.