Buffet meals are the death of me. No, I don’t get overly full as I don’t eat a lot and I think that’s the problem with them for me. If you’re logical the right thing to do at a regular $20 to $30 per person buffet is to eat what you paid for. On the other hand, I cannot eat anything worth that much making me half a person at a buffet. I might as well pretend to be a child and pay child’s admission at most buffet establishments but at Shinara, this is actually possible for me to do without being told off by staff.
Shinara Grill and Lounge – 338 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
Monday – Thursday and Sunday 11AM-12AM | Friday and Saturday 11AM-2AM
I’ve been to Shinara a few times in the past few years before it had closed down for renovations and it seems their new decor and menus has brought along new prices. Previous lunch time prices were $10 but are now $12 while dinner time prices were $21 but are now $29. At lunch time there were grills and raw meat for BBQ however it seems to be reserved for dinner time now which was a shame because I had a hankering for barbequed meat. There is still the usual buffet rule that you have to finish the food and not be a wasteful piggy which I can understand.
The new renovations are a significant improvement over the old place with much more attention to detail such as the tiled roof awnings over the kitchen area and the traditional door knockers on the separating walls between the tables.
When you pay at the counter you are given a few choices for the ‘hot-pot’ you can have to start your meal off. Shinara calls it a hot pot but there are honestly no raw meats out at lunch time to be able to throw into the soup. I’d call that false advertising.
I think we ordered the ox bone soup and it was not the best tasting thing I’ve had in my life. It had this really bitter and gamey taste (even though it was from ox) but maybe that was from the unidentified vegetable. Probably should have ordered the dumpling soup. You can never go wrong with dumplings right?!
Like a regular buffet, there was just a lot of tubs and pots out for people to grab whatever they wanted. Some items weren’t too great in terms of quality however overall it was acceptable for $12 per person. There were certain items on the menu that I did like and filled up on such as the fried chicken, dumplings, sweet and sour pork/tang soo yook as well as the potato starch noodles/japchae.
At the end of the meal we grabbed some of their vanilla ice cream despite being full. It turns out the ‘ice cream’ was very much ice and not so much cream. In fact the consistency reminded me of those ice pops which contained milk and were sealed in a plastic tube you could snap in half when it was frozen. False advertising once again.
Store: 8.5/10 the decor and layout of Shinara was quite nice and cosy with nice Korean accents around the place
Menu: 7.5/10 the food served was a good representation of the usual stuff you’d find at a normal Korean restaurant but certain dishes were at a lower quality
Waiting time: 10/10 it’s a buffet so there was no waiting time at all, even the soup or ‘hot pot’ was brought out very quickly
Servers: 8.5/10 I particularly liked the servers at this restaurant as they were attentive for the important things such as turning off the gas for the soup and removing used plates but left us to ourselves most of the time (I find overly attentive and vulture servers almost as annoying as no service)
Value for money: 8.5/10 the lunch time deal was great value for money as most meals in the city are around $10 to $15 for a simple meal with only a small portion too
Taste: 6.5-7/10 the taste of the food entirely depended on the type of food it was, good dishes were great but bad dishes were a waste of stomach space
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