Touted as the largest buffet in Malaysia, Jogoya's flagship Japanese buffet restaurant, Jogoya @ Starhill Gallery, opened its doors in January 2006 and remains (till today) a favourite of many who are looking for a "wide-variety-good-value" buffet. With a large space of nearly 30,000 sq ft, manouevring around the restaurant can be a bit challenging and time consuming.
Once seated, you'll be given some metallic clips (you can ask for more at anytime) with your table no. on it (for ordering dishes that are not pre-prepared food on the buffet line). You only need to drop these clips into the bowls found in front of the dish samples you wish to try. They will prepare and bring the dishes to you.
First things first, I like to get my fresh Thai coconut drink from the cooler which is free-flow (they used to be free flow and then limited to one per pax and now it's free flow again).
Anyway, there are lots more other drink choices like Chinese tea, fruit juices, colourful cocktails, soft drinks, smoothies, coffee etc.
With drinks in hand, let's attack the food...and there's a lot to attack! Warning: Pics Overload!! Due to the sheer variety, there are more pics of the food (from the counters) than the food I can actually eat.
We picked the Fried Prawn Roll which came with sizeable prawns and deep fried till crispy. It was good.
Sauna Egg (it's simply a soft-boiled egg with a few tiny shreds of seaweed in Japanese soy...who doesn't like a gooey, runny egg, yes?
Shark's Fin Crunchy Salad Thingy (dressing a tad salty)
Ebi with Apple Sauce (which had chopped prawns and mango cubes)
My plate of Sashimi (Savori, Ika & Tako Sashimi), cooked prawns, Salmon Tataki & Spicy Snails. The sashimi items were not as fresh as I would have liked and buffets are never the best places to have sashimi (as freshness and integrity of the raw food can be compromised if left out for too long).
Our plate of Grilled Shishamo, Saba Fish, Squid & Eel, my 'must-have' Quail Eggs and Takoyaki Balls (had way better ones than these) and something on a stick. I liked the grilled shishamo the best.
Two 'cook to order' dishes...one was the Fried Eel Omelette which tasted a bit like unagi on a piece of omelette. It was quite good though the sauce was a bit salty.
And if you happen to be a Jogoya VIP member, you have certain membership privileges and one of them is that you can enjoy certain VIP premium dishes that the non-members don't get to try.
These were some of the VIP premium dishes that I had the privilege of trying (in an earlier visit with my friends) - Grilled Whole Squid, Alaskan King Crab Legs, King Crabs, Tom Yam Prawns & Deep Fried Mantis Prawns.
My Personal Opinion
I would say that Jogoya's buffet is indeed "wide-variety-good-value" if you're looking for variety and value-for-money but taste wise, just don't get your hopes up too high. Having said that, it's still one of the better Japanese buffets around (still better than Shogun & Saisaki). If it's your first visit, you'll probably go 'wow' but this 'wow' factor diminishes as you make more visits (much like the saying...familiarity breeds contempt).
Although I found the quality and freshness of their raw food and some seafood rather suspect, it's acceptable for the promotional prices we pay. But, if I had to pay full prices, I'll have to think twice (coz then I'll expect fresher produce)! In all my previous outings to Jogoya, I didn't take any sashimi or fresh oysters but decided to this time. It was a mistake as I came off with a stomach upset.
Would I recommend this place? Yes, I would, especially to big eaters who appreciate and value variety over taste but (with a word of caution)....just stay away from the raw stuff if you've a sensitive stomach (like me). [#Note: Another Japanese buffet you should stay away from is Daidomon...downright horrible!]
Will I be back? I'll have to think about it, especially after the last 'upset' visit. And because they offer so much variety, there are no standout dishes that really make you want to come back for.....it's like they are a "Jack of all trades but the master of none"! Anyway, buffets are not so much 'my thing' anymore purely for the reasons that we tend to eat less (or can't consume as much) as we grow older (and if I do go, it's more for the camaraderie and chit-chatting than anything else). It's not easy (these days) to find a buffet that offers variety, quality, fresh food and, at the same time, tastes good. I much prefer quality over quantity these days.
T3 Relish Floor Starhill Gallery
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2142 1268