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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Yutaka, Sydney

I first discovered Yutaka courtesy of Pinkcocoa here. I'm becoming more and more sceptical when it comes to buffets, but Pinkcocoa's pics and write-up convinced me to give this one a go.

Yutaka offers a la carte sushi and teriyaki but most of the punters are here for the hedonistic excesses of the all-you-can-eat buffet. In a quaintly open pragmatic approach, the lunchtime offer is a bargain $12--but for 60 minutes only. The penalty for languid conversation and chewing each mouthful 30 times? $3 for every 30 minutes you over-stay...

We were on a workday lunch so one hour was fine with us. We sat down amongst the tables full of families and uni students and indicated we were after the buffet. The waiter nodded and hurried away. Three minutes later we realised that noone was coming back with any plates or instructions... eek! The starter's gun had obviously already fired!... And we were three minutes behind already! Run run run...

Hoso-maki (thin sushi rolls) with salmon and avocado; pickled radish; and cucumber

Futo-maki (thick sushi roll) with chicken and lettuce

Gunkan-maki (battleship wrap) with (top to bottom) flying fish roe; seaweed salad; and tuna.

Futo-maki with various fillings.

Platter of gunkan-maki with flying fish roe and tuna fillings.

Agedashi tofu

Fried rice and yakisoba fried noodles.

Japanese curry beef and steamed rice.

Hot chips, fried fish fillets, spring rolls and dimsims.

Whoahhhhh... lots of food hey? But wait. There's more....

Teriyaki beef and chicken.

Front: Tempura prawns, eggplant and sweet potato
Back: um... some kind of deep-fried yuba roll? and what tasted like deep-fried money bags.

Hiyashi soba

Hiyashi somen

Hiya yakko tofu

Yaki gyoza


Edamame boiled soybeans

Japanese-style potato salad with sweet corn and carrots.

Dessert corner (from bottom): crackers, salted crackers, coconut coated peanuts, chocolate wafer rolls, jellies, rice flour cakes, haw flakes and various lollies.

Red globe grapes, rockmelon, bananas and apples.

Miso soup

This is buffet food where the emphasis is on quantity not quality. However the food is of reasonable quality and there is a fair variety on offer. In fact we kept peering around all the columns to discover yet another island of bain-maries.

The gunkan-maki were a little soggy but there is plenty of food here to satiate even the hungriest sumo wrestler. I would craving a few more vegetables too but I suppose at least the abundance of tofu and noodles would keep the veggo's happy.

Dinner is more than twice the price but with an expansion of options including oysters, mussels, eel and sashimi. We were more than amused by the little signs on each table warning customers not to overeat the oysters and sashimi as "you may feel sick" and that wastage was not appreciated and could be penalised.

Still, if you're not fussy on your sushi or just after a variety of options on a budget, this is handy lunchtime fare. And the automated sushi-making machine was pretty cool too.

Yutaka Japanese Restaurant
125-129 Bathurst Street, Sydney
Tel: 02 9264 3700

A la carte menu

Lunch buffet:
Mon-Thur 11am-3pm $12pp (60min limit*)
Fri and Sat 11am-3.30pm and public holidays $16pp (90min limit*)

Dinner buffet (includes oysters, mussels, eel and sashimi):
Mon-Thur 5pm-10.30pm $30pp
Fri, Sat and public holidays 5pm-11pm $32pp

*Extra charge of $3pp for every 30min after limited time
13 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 3/09/2005 11:59:00 pm


  • At 3/13/2005 7:32 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    Sorry for not coming by for a while. =(

    This buffet looks like it has a wide variety of food items on offer. Did you find that it was worth the price? Normally, I don't like to visit Japanese buffets because I don't find the food to be of the best quality, but I also find that most Japanese dishes are either rice based or noodle based, so you don't necessarily get your money's worth unless you eat tons of seafood.

    I can't imagine a buffet only allowing 60 minutes for dining. Here, the time limit is usually one hour. I'm not sure what happens if you go over your allotted time, but I think they will bring you the bill and ask you to leave. LOL!

  • At 3/13/2005 10:08 pm, Blogger Ben said…

    A post! I was on the verge of sending you a concerned email :) If anyone else didn't post for a week I wouldn't think anything of it, but you're usually so prolific. Hope all's well. I'll tell the Fire Brigade not to knock your door down :)

    An intriguing place - it looks like it's a cut above the average all-you-can-eat joint. My problem is that the extent of the meal never hits me until I get up to leave. Then I double over in pain. It's hard to look dignified when you're in the foetal position :P

  • At 3/13/2005 10:32 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Reid - In fact, I've been a little lax in posting lately (see BHR's comment below)! But good to see you here!

    For $12 I would say yes, it was worth it. A lot of people were going crazy over the prawns but if you consider you could eat a reasonable meal of agedashi tofu, sushi, some teriyaki chicken and then some fruit, well I'd be happy to pay $12 to sit down to eat it.

    Most food court meals in Chinatown here cost about $7-9.

    I'm not sure about value for money when it comes to dinner though. These days I'm much more inclined to prefer a la carte and eat a little less but each a lot better. But each to their own. Starving uni students and ravenous teenagers will still take the buffet I think!

    And er, 60 minutes is one hour, so I'm not sure if you had a typo in your comment. Anyway, yes the time limit is rather unusual for Sydney. But if it keeps the prices down, then all power to them! :P

    Hi BHR - Yes I've been lax. Too much to eat and not enough time to blog I'm afraid. But thanks for your concern. It's nice to know that a prolonged absence is noticed (I can just imagine a potential newsflash saying that "concerned bloggers logged a call with police after a prolonged lack of posts" haha)

    It's definitely a cut above the $5.50 foodcourt all-you-can-pile-on-your-plate. A good place for a "I'm starving and ready to eat a Clydesdale" mood and it also works well with a larger group of people to cater for varying tastebuds.

    And yes, I did experience the pain of gluttony. But them's the crosses we bear eh?

  • At 3/13/2005 11:07 pm, Blogger Ms One Boobie said…

    Like you .. for 12$ .. i try it .. or go again even.. just because.. ;)

  • At 3/14/2005 12:10 am, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    My apologies. I did make a typo! =(

    I actually meant two hours and not one. Sorry. And I should have also said that I meant the dinner price was rather steep, lunch seems OK though. What's with me tonight?

  • At 3/14/2005 8:29 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    What is a buffet without hot chips for a filler? Doesn't look too bad. I thought you said there were no prawns.
    The promise of oysters for dinner is very alluring.

  • At 3/14/2005 12:47 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi MrsT - My sentiments exactly! :-)

    Hi Reid - No problem. I did scratch my head for a little while... ;-)

    Yeah I'm not sure if dinner would be worth it. Maybe if you hadn't eaten for a week...

    Hi VerucaSalt - I didn't have any chips! I pigged out on seaweed salad and sushi.

    Hmm... I can't remember saying there were no prawns. But yes, there were. And I forgot to mention that the prawn tempura wasn't too bad either.

    More oysters! Are you planning on going for a new record!?!

  • At 3/15/2005 9:51 am, Blogger pinkcocoa said…

    hey AG
    What an array of buffet food pics you have there! You sure did a much much better job than me ;-)
    How did the hot food tasted like? I didnt take any hot food while I was there. Fried food is a no-no on buffet for me. It fills you up too quickly!
    I am also sceptical about buffets. I have not seen a good buffet in Oz yet unfortunately. Buffet here is just too costly and the quality isnt as good too.

  • At 3/15/2005 12:37 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi pinkcocoa - Yes, it was a bit of a happy-snap frenzy.

    Like you I mainly concentrated on the sushi. The agedashi tofu was ok, but the potato starch wasn't very gelatinous and stretchy. I had a mouthful of the teriyaki beef (ok) and the teriyaki chicken (pretty good) too.

    I had some tempura prawns which were ok but not much of the other fried stuff. I was starting to feel a little queasy from the lack of vegetables already!

    Most of the good buffets are at the hotels. We've had reasonable buffets at the Novotel Brighton, Intercontinental Sydney and Airport Hilton but these were eaten at a while ago (I call them the hungry unfussy years!).

    I ate at the Ooiri Korean buffet at Star City last year, but truth be told, it wasn't that grand.

    The $55 Corn Exchange buffet at the Sheraton 4 Points is pretty good (you'll remember the Santa convention photo?) and I'm yet to indulge in the delights of the $79 buffet at the Sheraton on the Park (a bit steep for my liking even if they do have lobster).

    For $79 I think I'd prefer a 3-course meal at Aqua Luna. I'm of the volition that if you want to eat your weight in prawns and oysters you're better off heading to the Fish Markets!!! :-P

  • At 7/13/2006 5:36 am, Blogger gobsmack'd said…

    Hi Helen, I know this is well over a year old, but do you know if the lunch buffet is still on? What about the price? Thanks

  • At 7/13/2006 10:00 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Ben - A friend of mine went recently and yes, the buffet is still on. For current prices, I'd suggest you give them a call on the number provided.

  • At 4/15/2010 3:32 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I and my husband are the big fans of sashimi therefore we come here very often for a wide range of raw fish from All-You-Can-Eat. However, there are some very bad issue for the price of $38 per person: (15April 2010)
    1. The wasabi was just like out of date or left for too long that didnt taste of anything like wasabi.
    2. All-You-Can-Eat, however you have to order what you want so if you eat a bit more they will give you dirty looks "Why are you eating too much???". Yeah, just like that.
    3. Raw fish and oyster sometimes are not fresh at all.
    4. It was very annoying to get just a small portion everytime we ordered after a long wait. So you would not have the feeling of All-You-Can-Eat but What-You-Can-Order-And-Wait.

    So, we determined to find another place and we found http://www.kansai.com.au/ Will try it out soon.

    Good luck to everyone.

  • At 4/19/2010 12:12 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - Thanks for the recount of your latest experience. Sounds like it was very disappointing which is a shame!


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