Thursday, 15 September 2011

Shimizu Grand

Shimizu Grand on Urbanspoon
I had been waiting for this for the past few months.
Doesn't a Japanese all-you-can-eat buffet sound like heaven to you?
It does to me, and it totally is - It is all I can eat, and because of that, I eat and eat and eat like there is no tomorrow and end up eating a lot more than all that I should eat.

I was still going at it long after the rest of my family gave up on the glorious constantly-refilled buffet dishes. Always joke that I am a bottomless pit but I don't think that should be joked about.
Cause it's not funny when you joke about the truth.

The brother even remarked that I remind him of those little people you place in eating competitions, who are still calmly eating and feeding their deceptively big appetites when everyone else around is rolling around dying of overeating. Har har har!
Good things come in small packages but better things come as a buffet :D

The lighting in this restaurant isn't flash hot or particularly complementary to photo taking, with its warm orangey/yellow tones. The photos are horrendous but you can imagine how good the food was :D It was what kept me in bliss for a couple of hours of solid pigging out.

Soba Noodles
I always feel compelled to start eating these, or anything hot before eating a bucket of sashimi. Its the mindset that I can line my stomach up with real cooked food and prepare it before I pour an aquarium of live fish into it and that if any parasites are in the fish, then they will take longer to gnaw away at my guts.
How silly.

The above are cold soba noodles topped with nori (seaweed) strips. These are prepared in little bowls situated next to a water boiler, which you would not realise contains the cold soup base that complements the noodles. So the first time I ate these, I dunked them in hot miso soup. If not better, they are equally as good eaten hot.

Tepanyaki Beef
These little cubes of perfectly cooked beef are served to you as complementary dishes, though the word complementary doesn't bring as much excitement or mean much at a buffet when all the other dishes are for "free" as well. Served piping hot, they are cooked to order when you snag a table.

It's a little serving but fear not, you can order as many of these as you like and go crazy with them, like we did. We ordered 3 of these. Sometimes we make double orders unknowingly but it doesn't matter cause we polish them off anyway.
Cause they are so damn mouthwateringly tender and delicious, enhanced even more by the fragrant garlic and black pepper garnishes.
Anything deep fried is always good, and deep fried squid balls are no exception to that universal rule. Takoyaki is served together with the teppanyaki beef above, both too hot to handle :) Cooling blobs of Japanese mayonnaise and the darker Japanese sauce are wisely added added (Pardon my ignorance). So much movement is exerted from this dish, all its steam frolicking above the balls LOL as well as the entertaining moving flaps sprinkled on top.

I did a wikipedia search on these a while ago to settle a debate over what these mysterious pinkish "creatures" are - and from memory they are cuttlefish, or some other sort of fish.
I don't knowww, but they are cute cause they seem alive :P and really catch your attention because they move around by themselves! Like hellooo

Not the same effect if you had live moving squid tentacles in front of you.
Egg Custard
I thought I'd break a bit off the perfect smooth surface of this so that it doesn't look like a white shiny custard dessert, but after doing so I realised it still just looks like a shiny white custard dessert. Failed good intentions.

But the egg custard is still white and shiny and custardy, just not desserty, because it is savoury. Quite savoury while we're at it. But its got such smooth moves it will just slip and slide down your throat.
The sometimes loved, sometimes feared recognisable staple for Japanese cuisine.
Oooh I cried and cried like a baby when I knowingly ate a big smear of this on my fresh piece of salmon. But the rush keeps me coming back to it cause I can't think of another food that gives you a sudden adrenaline rush LOL.

I think our dipping dish contained more wasabi than it did soy sauce. And we constantly refilled it too. I wonder why wasabi is eaten with sashimi. I've always thought the stinging and fiery quality of wasabi will gnaw away at the bacteria in sashimi before they get a chance to gnaw at our stomachs. Comforting thought!

Tip for the moment you break down in tears and can't breathe and feel like you're going to die from the heat rush that blocks up your brain and airways: BREATHE OUT!!! And you'll live :)

Some hot dish selections
Not very appetising photo but there are a couple of hot dishes at the buffet that are usually ignored because of the cold foods that steal all the limelight. Above is a piece of chicken karaage (fried chicken), grilled beef with onions, panfried chicken and a very nice stick of prawn katsu. I think I had 3 of these sticks cause you can't stop at one.
How can you stop at something perfectly crumbed and fried!

Other selections of hot food included Japanese curry, plain rice, spring rolls, stir fried vegetables, stir fried udon noodles and other changing variations.
Its such fun to lift up those exquisite dome shaped silver lids and be nosy to have a peek at what lies inside :)

Tempura is also automatically served a while after you take a seat.  Lightly battered and deep fried, you'd be mistaken to think the whole dish was tempura prawns with the way they present the dish with the abundance of prawn on top! Cheeky and deceivable :P And I was deceived.

Hiding beneath the 5 prawns (for 5 people - coincidence? I think not! And 5 takoyaki balls. Yay for being observative staff :)) were slightly healthier deep fried options (if that's even possible!).
They serve tempura fish, beans, sweet potato, pumpkin and onion from memory.

It's not too greasy so you actually don't feel too bad eating it, but then after your 3rd dish, you sort of do. Which is what happened to us... teeeee heeeeee!
Eel and Seared Salmon Nigiri
Hmmmmm. I'm usually always, undoubtedly, crazy in love with eel. But the past few times I've been here, the restaurant has switched to this other version of "eel" but it's not very eel-like. It actually looks a bit plasticky and a bit off putting. It's the thing in the foreground and looking at it now, I think it's more photogenic than it is in real life.

In the background is a very blackened seared salmon nigiri. Too bad I don't like the taste and look of carbon. They even burn the rice as well as the fish on top. But you can never go wrong with seared salmon, when its exterior is jussst cooked with the inside still semi raw. Soo good.
Roasted Japanese Tea and White Wine
Beverages of the night - little delicate cups of roasted Japanese red tea and white wine. Lol. They actually used to have signage on the shop's windows advertising that complementary glasses of wine were served with dinner when you have 4 diners or more.
They have taken all those down now.

But upon asking, they do still state they have that offer and will provide you with wine, if you ask.
Almost hesitantly.
Because last time they served white wine, and not red like they said they would. Not a problem as the wine is given at their discretion. But one thing that was potentially a problem was that upon asking if it was meant to be red wine, the waitress casually said "But that IS red wine".
I wasn't colourblind the last time I checked?

Buffet selection on offer
Finally onto the really good stuff! :D Weeeeeee! All the colours are so vibrant and happy, it makes me feel like I'm eating a rainbow. Comments are always made about how jumpy and happy and giddy I am when I eat at this Japanese buffet, and this is the reason why.

None of the foods have labels with them, so pardon me in my poor attempts at descriptions.
Clockwise from the eye-catchingly sharp orange shade of the salmon sashimi, there is another type of white fleshed fish sashimi, both of which are extremely fresh and chunky sliced. Then there's another seared salmon nigiri, seaweed salad, some other crunchy and chewy textured salad combinations, an edamame bean, another salad, beef tataki and tuna sashimi, collectively forming a moat surrounding a lone salmon and avocado and cucumber sushi.

Phew! That was a mouthful to say. But an even bigger mouthful to eattt

Buffet selection view #2
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm :D

Sometimes if my steak is cooked too rare, I won't eat it. But I will dive head first into a dish of tataki, which is practically RAW sliced beef marinated in a vinegary sauce, only slightly seared on its edges. Cooked just a bit, to remind ourselves we are not totally carnivorous freaks who will eat a live cow.

Shimizu's version of it is nicely presented, with lots of marbling amongst the meat. Strips of lined fat would probably equal a very juicy fatty steak when altogether. I probably wouldn't eat a whole steak this raw, but I could probably eat all the individual slices if the same steak were cut off.

I'm so weird.

Various Sashimi
Not much to say, but I quite understand why salmon is relatively expensive to buy.
Such a delicacy, even more so when NOTHING has been done to it. No need for fancy cooking techniques or ANY cooking required or addition of flavour.
I think we absolutely cleared the buffet of sashimi they kept replenishing.
Oh salmon, you are so perfect on your own. Don't ever change the way you are.

Another Tempura
Oh, there's our second dish of greediness!

Fried Fish Head
And just when I thought we were about to finish up, no freaking way. We continued our eating rampage and requested another made to order dish. Not exactly an attractive dish but a very attractive dish to eat.

I discovered my affection for fish head at this restaurant. I never understood the pleasure my mother got out of sucking the guts and brains out of the fish's head and bones. Now I do.

This isn't an advertised dish nor is it available to grab at the buffet station but this was introduced to us by the manager the very first time we visited this restaurant. I guess they need to do SOMETHING with all the leftover fish heads and tails after all their flesh is used for sashimi.

The chefs panfry this until the skin crisps up but the flesh is still moist and smooth. You haaave to eat the flesh meat on the fish's cheeks. It's soo delicate to eat. I think if we could eat humans our cheek flesh would be the nicest to eat as well.
Ha ha ha...

Miso Soup
The boring but needed Miso soup. I had just stirred up all the powder that characteristically sinks to the bottom of Miso soup. When I was small I loved Miso soup like it was the best thing on this planet. Soo I used to save the best until last to devour. And of course, it would be cold and boring. But I never stopped doing that.
Ahh, how silly of me.
Childhood has now taught me to savour the good things first, before they suddenly disappear or are taken away from you.

Dessert - Fruit, Slices, Jellies, Cakes
Possibly the best part to every meal, who could leave a buffet without satisfying their sweet tooth and abolishing the desserts section?
Holding only a few desserts but still a good selection and plus, you can't eat too much more when your stomach is about to burst.

Juicy oranges and sweet rockmelon for sure, but lets move onto the more exciting stuff shall we? :) 

Jelly shapes
Its true when they say when you find a good thing, stick to it.
Shimizu's dessert offers always change but one thing that is there to stay are there jellies.
Boasting different colours and shapes, these jellies have such an addictive chewy texture and not-too-sweet taste that are very moreish.
They also have little stewed fruit inside them as well.
More more more!
I think I had about 5 of these :P tee hee

Slices and Cakes
Tonight's desserts had the inclusion of 3 different varieties of sweet slices and cakes.
The carrot cake was iced with white frosting topped with crushed walnuts and although not carroty in flavour, was very moist and nice. Now that I think of it, it might have even been banana cake... Hmm.

Mini caramel slice, as usual, very sweet and sticky. A decadent 3 layered slice with shortbread crumbs as a base topped with thick, rich, gooey, solid caramel finished with a chocolate top. It takes guts and a love of sugar to finish this!

The final slice was a coconut and jam concotion. This was full of genuine coconut and has that gritty grisly coconut texture when you bite into it. Sometimes to me, eating coconut is like eating sandy grass. Peh.
And finally, that is where I decided to stop challenging my stomach's capacity.
I think I nearly suffocated my insides cause I could seriously hardly walk after this little feast.


Shimizu is priced at $42 per adult, which I must say is a pretty decent price to charge considering the quality and quantity of food that is constantly at your mercy. A normal average meal at a Japanese restaurant consisting of sashimi is probably around the $20+ mark and even though you're paying double here, you certainly don't eat just double the amount.

They've changed owners a couple of times it seems, and I don't know if I fell deep in love the first time I visited since it was a novelty, but it seems the quality and customer service has fallen just a littleee bit, but not obviously noticeable. They even introduced a green tea soft serve machine last time that broke down and flooded the place and now has a Out of Order sign permanently stuck to it.
And we got told to get ice cream the moment we sat down and before we even started eating, cause they were going to close the ice cream machine??? Sheesh. Oh well.

The music they play in the background here is very noticeable and somewhat odd. Usually the music choice is hardly noticeable and complements the atmosphere. Here the music was sort of intrusive LOL I don't know. It sounded like gaming music - like Mario Bros - then it was a suspenseful type music, something the brother described as the type of background music you hear when you're flying through the forests in the movie Avatar. It sounds weird, but is actually the perfect description.

There's ample parking in the carparks on the rooftop as well as undercover parking, which is free at night, which makes it hassle free to get to. Adjoining the restaurant outside is a mini playground and outdoor living area, very inviting and a good effort to incorporate nature amongst all the buildings and artificial landscape.

There's a very smart and efficient set up for your own cutlery needs. So if you drop a spoon, eat unbelievably messily and dribble all over the place or break your dipping dish, there's another one immediately waiting for you, available right underneath your eating space at the table.
All neatly organised in a pull out tray from your table. See below if you have no idea what I'm on about.
Personal Cutlery Station
I'm impatiently waiting for my next buffet again! Come with. :)
You pay.


  1. I didn't like it the last time I went here. The service was horrible. They charged us corkage fee and they didn't even open up the bottle of wine for us. Just chucked us the wine opener and expected us to open it ourselves. Resulted in us getting the cork stuff in our bottle of wine coz we're so noob.
    They didn't refill the food either. Pretty much all I ate was sashimi and jelly until it ran out. Wasn't a fan of the "hot" food which was actually served cold and not fresh.
    AND THERE WAS NO ICECREAM! :'( All would have been forgiven if icecream was present... but no :(

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I should make a food comment, instead of a food blog hahahaha.
    Your blog will only be popular coz people want to read my comments =D

  4. Keep dreaming mate.

    My blog will never be popular LOL


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