Have a hankering for an all-you-can-eat buffet for a reasonable price? Happy for a no frills dining experience? Want to mingle with the locals? Do you like Korean BBQ food? Do you like to eat meat???
Well do I have the place for you. We actually came across Tobaki while visiting another place in the Sunnybank Hills shopping complex, and boy, was Mr Ana intrigued. He now often comes up with places to go, and this was on ‘the’ list. When I asked him why he wanted to try Tobaki, Mr Ana replied ‘because it’s Korean BBQ. And it’s all you can eat. And it’s crowded. What more would you want?’
So off we went. When we arrived, the restaurant was buzzing with diners, all at tables with individual charcoal grills. The tables went right out to the car park edge and people kept streaming in, us included. We nabbed a table and waited for Mr S to arrive. While we waited, we were served a jug of cold water and given some cups to serve ourselves. Mr Ana went inside to check out what the buffet had to offer – cabbage and diakon kim chi, fried Korean dumplings, sweet glass noodles with vegetables and beef, fresh lettuce, corn cobs, soba noodles and potatoes. And the BBQ meat. Wow. Chicken thighs marinated in hot bean paste, chicken bulgogi, pork marinated in hot bean paste, thinly sliced pork belly, beef steaks, beef marinated galbi (short ribs), mussels, baby squid…….. the list actually goes on…
When Mr S arrived, the swift service staff came out and placed two charcoal boxes in our BBQ and a clean grill on top. So we got started. Plates of kim chi and dumplings, another of glass noodles (my favourite!), and an assorted plate of BBQ meats ready to grill. We were each given some tongs and a pair of scissors which came in handy later on.
I’ll cut the chase and focus on what I really enjoyed. The glass noodles were a typical sweet flavour, and easy to eat. I enjoyed the capsicum and onion mixed in. The dumplings were a hit also, but once they got a bit cool they weren’t as enjoyable. Didn’t really stop me from eating a dozen or so of them! The kim chi, was surprisingly mild (ish) despite the hot red colour of the pickle marinade. And I really enjoyed the kim chi daikon radish – however I confess that love picked daikon.
My all time favourite meat cut of the night was the short rib galbi. Oh. My. Gosh. We took our time to grill it so it became lovely and brown, and it was well worth the wait. The beef was tender, sweet and sticky, and I had great joy with ripping the meat off the rib like a little carnivore. The chicken bulgogi was also enjoyable and I confess I was very distracted by the beef short ribs.
Tobaki is worth visiting if you like to eat BBQed meat and are happy to cook for yourself. The service is prompt, with staff changing the grills over to ensure that your meat is cooked well (as opposed to burning it to a crisp) – staff do not speak fabulous English however, so if you have questions, ask the owner. At $25 per person, it is reasonably priced for a casual night out. As I mentioned earlier, don’t wear fancy clothes, and this really is a no frills restaurant, and be aware that you will go home smelling like BBQ meat and will need a shower!
Would I go to Tobaki again? Yes I would!
Ps – sorry that there are not so many photos in this post, I got distracted and ate too much.
Time to be rolled home…