When asked about my all time favourite buffet in Brisbane, the answer is always going to be Nonbei Sake Bar, situated on Ann Street, in Fortitude Valley.
*Disclaimer, Whilst all efforts were made, the dark lighting in the restaurant meant that some photos came out blurry. You have been warned.*
They offer three different types of buffet, with the most basic at $39. With every increase in price, a wider variety of foods become available for selection. Usually, we settle for the $49 Awesome Buffet because it has wagyu and salmon sashimi.
They specialise in Japanese BBQ, which is slightly different to Korean BBQ, as it is cooked on a wire mesh instead of an iron plate.
Other than buffet, they also offer a la carte options, but considering the amount of food we go through, buffet seems to be the better option.
The first thing that we always definitely get is the potato salad. Its a creamy mashed potato with different vegetables mixed into it as well as salad sauce. (Also looks remarkably like ice cream)
Seaweed salad and kimchi is also a definite must for us.
Occasionally we order edamame.
For some reason, in the multiple times I have been there, ox tongue is the first meat to be served. I like how it is thinly sliced and mildly flavoured.
Although this is a bit blurry, but one of the crowd favourites are the deep fried oysters, apparently one of the best in Brsbane, although I personally prefer the Gyoza because of its juicy filling and thin skin.
Aside from just grilling meats, they also offer little metal tubs of mushrooms and corn, which you can also cook on the grill. It comes with a bit of butter underneath, which melts and works to cook the veges.
The lotus chips are also very crunchy, and karaage chicken was nice and hot.
Of course, coming to a BBQ buffet, the main attraction is the meat. As you can see from the photos, the wagyu was well marbled, and also nicely marinated. Personally, I also purchase wagyu for consumption at home, but what keeps me returning to Nonbei time and time again is their sauces and marinades, being subtly sweet but not overbearing at the same time.
Another highlight for me is the Salmon Sashimi, which you order by the piece. The cuts are generous and thick. The fish is also very fresh and yummy.
They also offer a large range of salads. The one in the photo is a tofu salad, which was quite large in size.
And for those who are particularly courageous, the Salmon Yukke is raw salmon mixed with a raw egg yolk which emphasises the smoothness of the fish.
If I had the budget, I would eat at Nonbei at least once every week. The service is fast, and even though there is a time limit on weekends (1.5 hrs), I have always finished with time to spare. This is a definite must try for all Japanese food lovers in Brisbane
Price Range: $39 - $59 per person (for buffet)
Environment: 7/10 (would prefer environment to be a bit more well lit)