Sunday, August 17, 2008

Suminoya - City, Sydney

Meat.... is there a sweeter sounding word? I think not! As a self-confessed carnivore there is nothing better than a barbeque buffet using fresh meat and ingredients. Suminoya is a Japanese yakiniku and lobster restaurant, a part of the I's holding group which consists of Rengaya, Suminoya, Koh-ya and Menya. I have been a patron of the I's group restaurants for many years now and the one I go to most is Suminoya.

Rengaya has the best premium meat with very nicely marbled meat and beautiful stone-pot bimbimbas but those are the reason why it is the most expensive as well so it is usually for special occasions. Koh-ya is located in Neutral Bay and is also of reasonable quality but since I have only been there once ages ago, I can not give fair criticism. It is also the cheapest of the three but that does not mean it is of bad quality. Therefore Suminoya is in the middle. (Menya is a ramen hut so it has been eliminated by default.)

There are 2 choices at the dinner menu; Gourmet buffet and the Premium buffet (both 90 minutes allocated eating time). In my opinion the gourmet buffet is enough unless you really really want the sashimi and unlimited beef tongue because one comes to a yakiniku place for the mmeeaatttt ^^! I have been dining at Suminoya for many years so I have seen the many changes on the menu throughout the years like the limiting of beef tongue and beef rib finger to one serve per person, the additions to the menu like mushrooms, sausages and a few other goodies, the re-introduction of unlimited rib finger, the reduction in serving sizes and of course the ever-so-subtle increments in price.

As soon as the waiter seats us down we were ready to order hee hee so here comes the food. The food comes at a speedy pace, which was good as we have been starving a whole day so we can eat our own bodys' weight in meat hee hee.

I always tend to start off with the salmon and seaweed salad to make myself feel less guilty about all the fatty meat that I am about to consume. This salad is also my favourite one there with the spinach and almond salad coming second. The wasabi dressing on top gives the salad a very nice touch so sometimes I may get 2 or 3 of these salads.

Next to come was the beef tongue, which is a tasty delicacy. It has a high oil content and they slice them pretty thin so its a good idea to cook them first and not too long. They are slightly chewy and very flavourful so it is a very popular cut of meat hence the limiting.

Yukke consists of raw beef, raw egg and some finely chopped spring onion. You mix it all together and it transforms into a unique and a must-order side dish. For the Yukke virgins, do not worry as they only use the freshest ingredients. It has a slimy (in a good way) texture and an indescribable taste so you must try first-hand to find out.

Clockwise from the left: Beef rib finger, beef rib, pork rib and mushrooms.
Three simple words: Beef rib finger. This is my favourite cut of meat at suminoya and every time we visit we end up calling the waiter multiple times and going,"more beef rib finger please" haha... I am such a fatty. It has nice fat content which makes it juicy and flavourful on top of the marinade they use. The beef rib is just a less fatty version of the finger for those who are mindful of their weight :P (obviously not me). The pork rib has a visible layer of fat on the side which causes flames to lick up at the meat so you have to watch them carefully or they will become a black crisp. Mushrooms are a nice break from all the fatty meat.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm beef rib finger. Since it is self bbq place I always try to aim for medium rare.

Cooking nicely.

There is also a selection of seafood for those seafoody people out there. We ordered some scallops and baby octopii which were very fresh but there was no marinade.

The fish is another good selection and you let it cook and stew in the sauce. It is very soft and tender so definitely worth ordering. The beef intestine is another good delicacy which I usually order but since it is very fatty I cannot manage large portions of it. Make sure the intestine is cooked well before serving. They are super chewy and give your jaw a good workout.

Clockwise from top left: Cucumber kimchi, cold udon and edamame.
These are all excellent sides to order and to nibble on while waiting for the meat to cook. I absolutely love their cold udon as it cools and is refreshing especially since the place gets really hot from the charcoal fire.

There were many other dishes which we did not order or take photos of. A few other good selections include the bimbimba, corn in butter, chicken, beef harami and many other tasty dishes. We end up ordering and munching until we are full up to our necks... but when the waiter comes and asks,"last order?" we exchange glances with each other with a common thought on our minds... Green tea ice cream!

Since is it a scientifically proven fact that people have a separate stomach for dessert :P we always end up ordering heaps of green tea ice cream.

The green tea ice cream is made at the store by adding green tea powder to partially melted vanilla ice cream, stirring vigorously and then refreezing it. Sometimes when they do it in a rush the powder can be unevenly spread throughout the ice cream but it is still very tasty. The combination of corn flakes, red bean paste and fresh cream makes the dessert an utter delightful way to finish the meal.

All in all I am a very content and full customer after every meal at Suminoya. One problem is that since their waiters/waitresses are all Japanese, their engrish may not be the best and sometimes service can be slow (or erroneous) when it is very busy as my friend Supermonkey has confirmed at his last visit. The restaurant also fills up with the bbq smoke quite easily as the air vents are not as effective as they once used to so the smell of smoke will get into clothes and hair. When you make a reservation I suggest you ask for a table downstairs as the ceiling is higher and they usually have the door open for air to circulate so it does not get as smoky there.

After every meal here it can also be quite hard to move so make sure you park somewhere close ;)

1 Hosking Place, Sydney
(Small alley between Castlereagh St and Pitt St)
Tel: (02) 9231 2177

Lunch Monday to Friday 12pm-3pm
Lunch menu

Dinner 7 days 6pm-10.30pm
Gourmet buffet $41 adult / $16 children
Premium buffet $49 adult / $19 children

Add $2 charge per bbq mesh (including first one)
All-you-can eat for 90 minutes only (last order at 60 minute mark)
Dinner menu


D said...

What a co-incidence that you and I post up two restaurants the are part of the I's Group on the same day. I'm going to sushi samurai (N. Bay) .. so will blog that soon ... also went to Makan@Alice's and the Indo Food Festival today and got lots of happy snaps :)

Lydia said...

I miss you so much... suminoya!!!!