When a friend asked me to recommend a good place for Japanese buffet , I realised I could barely name three of them. Yes there are Sakae, Suki, Nihon Mura and whatever Japeanese-sounding restaurants that are wallet-friendly, but mass-produced, poor quality sushi just don't quite cut it these days. Hanabi? Not outstanding. Kushinbo? Too much of a crowd and irritated by their hourly "dong-dong-dong" special.
Thankfully, there was this unique place that I thought to be better than the rest, independent of brand chains that served run-of-the-mill stuffs!
Located at Greenwood Avenue, Shin Yuu could be quite a hassle to visit if one didn't drive. But hearing much good things about their ala carte Japanese buffet made me determined to drop by for a lunch visit, car or not!
The small restaurant could barely hold 40 customers, though there were more private rooms hidden way inside. Strangely, my two days advance booking warranted a sit right next to the entrance with the staff telling me that the empty tables inside were already taken, though I never saw anyone walking in afterwards. Never mind, bring on the food!
Sashimi Platter - With 6 types of fishes available, every one of them was fresh with natural sweetness. Off to a good start! Chawanmushi - Decently silken with plump salmon roe toppings, appreciated the small portion that didn't evilly filled us up.
Aburi Salmon - Flamed with a blow torch, the salmon was nicely charred, simply melting with the savoury aftertaste of mentaiko. Many, many reorders of this!
The complimentary one-time-only Tuna Belly Aburi was really good as well, while the Smoked Duck Breast was just the usual frozen type that was sliced and served.
Spicy Tuna Hand Roll - Touted as must-try, this was good but nothing fantastic really.
Unagi with Avocado Sushi Roll - Well obviously, this was nowhere close to the premium version at Sushi Tei, but was still nicely done for a buffet standard with creamy avocado slices.
Fried Gyoza - A tad oily with little fillings. Cheese Fishcake - Yes I know, very normal Supermarket stuffs, but I have a soft spot for these tender snacks that oozed with cheese when bitten.
Prawn with Miso and Mayonnaise Sauce - Oh wow, this was a really pleasant surprise! Omelette that was so fluffy and creamy with crunchy prawn and mushrooms. Refill please! Grilled Unagi - Passable and decently sweetened.
Wafu Steak - Too chewy for my liking Grill beef short ribs - This was more like it! Nicely marbled with that bit of fatty lining around the bone.
Grilled Pork Loin with Miso Sauce - Tenderly grilled, it went well with the thick miso sauce.
Grilled Scallop - Pretty sure it was of frozen grade, but I'm not complaining and it went with the same mentaiko sauce too. Pork Cutlet - Too much flour, too little meat. Forgettable.
Tempura Platter - Made upon order, it was sure to arrive piping hot every time. Delightful batter. Soft Shell Crab Tempura - This looked rather limp in comparison to the platter, but nonetheless alright in taste.
Grilled Salmon - A tad overcooked. Dory Fish with Cheese - The creamy sauce was yummy in small amount but easily overkilled, while dory was just, well, dory.
Braised Grouper - Another unexpected hit! Though looking dry, the meat was very moist and tender, absorbing the light ginger sauce. Definitely choosing this over the other two!
At $35++/pax for lunch, there were still many items on the menu that I didn't try. But if you are one with a sweet tooth, you can forget about ending with one here as there were zero desserts on the menu, an improvement that would certainly be welcomed.
Otherwise, with attentive service and excellent quality for some of the items, Shin Yuu is definitely one of the places to go for a satisfying Japanese buffet experience. I'm drooling of the aburi salmon already, by the dozen!
Shin Yuu 16 Greenwood Avenue Hillcrest Park Tel: 6763 4939 Check out their facebook page for latest news and menu!