S is for Ginza’s Shabu Shabu VS Y is for Ginza’s Yakiniku

Min’na ni yoroshiku! Meaning ‘Hello to Everyone’ in Japanese.
You are in for a double treat today as we review the two types of buffets that are offered at:
 Ginza Japanese Restaurant on Unley Road

Ginza Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday & Saturday nights: $44.90 pp Shabu Shabu Buffet (120 mins)
Sunday – Thursday nights: $29 pp Yakiniku (BBQ) Buffet (120 mins)
1. Shabu Shabu Buffet 
The millionaire dollar question is what is this ‘shabu-shabu‘?

Shabu-shabu is a Japanese style of hot pot, where you cook thinly sliced beef or other foods in boiling water and dip it into sauces to eat. The name originated from the sound that is made when the ingredients are cooking – *shabu-shabu*. The best part of the buffet is that you can order whatever you like on the menu to cook in your personal hotpot that is being constantly heated over a flame.

My boyfriend made a booking for us on Saturday night – the second night of the opening of Shabu-Shabu!

When we arrived, our party of 4 were ready to start ‘shabu-shabu’ and the waiters got the water boiling. However, they didn’t really tell us what to do and we weren’t really sure what goes into the pot first. We decided to put the vegetables in first to give more flavour to the broth as we waited for our meats to arrive.



Our crumbed foods arrived first so we had some entrees of delicious crumbed goods!


Crumbed scallops – this is my first time trying crumbed scallops and now I am in love! Crunchy and soft sweet taste of scallops inside. I totally forgot to order another serve and now I regret it!


Crumbed Crab Claws – Ooh this was bursting with crab inside! Fun to hold onto the claw and bite into the piping hot ball of crab! The crab meat inside was white, light and stringy, just as it should be. We shared another serve of these because they were so yumm!


Potato Croquettes – This was also fried very well with potatoe-y goodness inside but it was a bit big and too filling for an entree.

Our lovely dinner friends treated us to a bottle of Choya Plum Wine – which is lovely sweet wine that balances sweetness, acidity and an exotic fragrance emanating from the ume pit. There are many variants of the ‘Choya’ alcoholic beverage, with more information available here: http://www.choya.com/umeshu_01.html.

I normally don’t drink wine but I make exceptions for Choya! Give it a go – it is also available at various bottle stores in Adelaide. Please drink it chilled and on ice!! (Doesn’t taste as good warm)

Food started arriving! I apologize for the lack of clarity in my photos as I think my camera settings were a bit wrong for the lighting in the room, which I only realised when I uploaded the photos. (Blame the wine?!) I am only posting a few of the highlights – the others are for you to explore. Venue pictures are available in the Yakiniku review below!
Jellyfish salad – consisting of jellyfish, glass noodles and other bits and pieces made it a very nice and light dish to eat throughout the night.
Salmon Sashimi – Very impressed with these freshly sliced salmon sashimi. Melts in your mouth!
Kingfish Sashimi – this also was very nice and fresh. Very happy they use fresh fish for sashimi (no stomachaches today!) 
HIGHLIGHT of the Night: WAGYU Beef
Wagyu is known for its marbling characteristics, meaning the muscle is finely dispersed with monounsaturated fat. The marbling makes the beef just melt in your mouth with moisture and tenderness. This is the first time I had ‘shabu-shabu’ with wagyu beef. I usually bbq it at home! ‘Shabu-shabu’ wagyu beef is also very nice. We didn’t have to cook it for long, but it still absorbs delicious flavours of the broth and when consuming, it just melts into your mouth dispersing the flavours of your broth. We ordered three serves of this!! We just couldn’t have enough 😉
Black Pork Belly – this was also the first time using black pork belly for shabu-shabu. Black pork is special because it is from a black pig, and is evident by little black hairs. Unfortuntately, I forgot to check. Black pork is generally more chewy. It is very rare to see black pork on a menu, so try it out and experience it yourself 🙂
Bok choy: A chinese vegetable that absorbs flavours from the broth and is refreshing to eat during shabu-shabu!
Enoki Mushroom: Also known as straw mushroom, is a definitely MUST for shabu-shabu. It also absorbs a lot of the flavours of the broth and the texture has a little resistance and is just a delight to it.
Other highlights were the oyster mushrooms and shitake mushrooms. They are yummy and taste slippery but also absorbs delicious flavours!
I forgot to take a photo of our dessert because it was consumed too quickly. We had a scoop of Yuzu Icecream and Green Tea icecream, which were presented in little bowls.
Overall, we had a fantastic night at Ginza – their hospitality is wonderful. The owner of Ginza, Johnny, was personally walking around and talking to everyone. He introduced himself and made sure that our night was indeed wonderful and checked if we needed anything else!
Room for improvements would be more communication by the waiters as they didn’t talk much to us. As it may be the first time shabu-shabu for many people, customers may appreciate being taught how to ‘shabu-shabu’. Also, there was long delays in receiving our order, which resulted in us just staring at an empty pot. We also had to remind the waiters about our orders, which it then came out promptly. I had heard from others that it does not seem like a buffet due to the long wait – so I would advise putting in a big order at the start so you can still keep cooking whilst waiting for your second orders.
Overall I would grade it an A – for our experience (just the long waits were a bit off-putting) – our party of 4 were very satisfied and rolled out with full bellies! Thank you Ginza for a wonderful shabu-shabu experience!
                                              OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    ?????????????????????? 

2. Yakiniku BBQ Buffet (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=523054574428566&set=pb.109719365762091.-2207520000.1375623603.&type=3&theater)

For $29, this buffet was just screaming out value and ‘try me try me!’, and so we succumbed. We had a party of 10 for the Yakiniku BBQ Buffet.

What is Yakiniku? Yakiniku means ‘grilled meat’ and Yakiniku BBQ is a Japanese style of cooking bite sized meats (and offals) on a grill over charcoals, giving that delicious flame-grilled flavour, and then dipping into a variety of sauces to eat.

Here are some photos of the venue – the amazing hidden part of the restaurant where you feel like you are entering into Japan. Cosy seating where you sit on the floor level and your feet go inside the pit underneath the table.:

20130603_190225      20130603_190232

We ordered a lot of the takoyaki’s – which are balls made with flour and octopus – and they were just deliciously crispy and crunchy. 


These were Japanese Gyoza’s (dumplings) which were a little bit crunchy on the outside. The skin was a bit heavy so it wasn’t very popular as it was very filling.


We ordered lots of pork belly, scallops and more pork belly. Pork belly is THE best meat for yakiniku (in my opinion and if you are not afraid of a little bit of fat). The pork belly here was perfect for yakiniku, as it sizzled away on the grill, it absorbed a lot of the flame-grilled flavour of the charcoals. When eating the pork belly, it was full of flavour even without any sauce – just the grilled flavour is amazing.

Other favourites were pork loins, beef tongue, scotch fillet (beautiful tender meat) and scallops. The beef ribs were not very popular as the meat was a bit chewy and tough, which we informed the waiters about.

20130603_194254      bbq2 

Overall, we were very satisfied and had an amazing time trying out different types of meat yakiniku style. I was very surprised to find that I actually liked eating the beef tongue and pork loins. They are offals that I’ve never tried before. Treat yourself to this delicious meal and for $29, you can’t get any better!

I suggest you book early as the word is getting out! We grade this Yakiniku an A +!

That’s all from me. Thank you for reading and I do hope you enjoy or otherwise give them feedback for improvement as the owner is very passionate about his business! You can chat to them through their Facebook page if you have any concerns.

Time for me to sleep.

Oyasumi nasai!

.. the Alphabet of Food …


3 thoughts on “S is for Ginza’s Shabu Shabu VS Y is for Ginza’s Yakiniku

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