Shogun Japanese Buffet Restaurant. There’s been quite a buzz going around about the place since it opened. After some months of hearing about it, and witnessing the queue that stretched all the way to the GSC cineplex escalators for dinner over Chinese New Year, curiousity got the better of me. So last weekend, WL and I decided to have dinner there and see what all the hoo hah is about.
- Shogun: I Saw The Sign -
We arrived at at 1-Utama at 3.30pm. Since it was early and we had failed to make reservations by phone, we decided to drop by the restaurant to see if we could book a spot for the night. Unfortunately, the person in charge told us that their reservation list was full and we would have to wait in line at 6.30pm when the restaurant opened for dinner. Walk-in customers (read: those foolish enough to come without reservations) would be allowed entry on a first come first served basis.
I was a little worried about that as we had purchased tickets for The Pink Panther which was scheduled to end at around 6.40pm. True enough, the movie ended on scheduled and we arrived at the entrance of Shogun at 6.45pm. We queued up for a while to get to the counter, only to find out that they were full and putting names on the waiting list. We were 34th in line! I was actually kind of ticked off at this, as they could just as easily have put us on the waiting list when we enquired earlier!
- Shogun: Long Queue At The Entrance -
Nonetheless, I put on a smile and asked the head honcho of the waiting list, Mr. Daverick Wong, how long it would take for them to clear the list. He told us that they would wait a while to cancel reservations that didn’t turn up and allow entry to those on the list. However, he refused to tell me how many were scheduled to be canceled or commit to a time frame when we would gain entry.
It amazes me that, after so many months of operation, they are still unable to estimate the amount of time it would take for us to get in! Talk about bad management. Instead, they tell us to wait around! So we waited… and waited… and waited. Halfway through the wait, WL made a prediction that we would get in at 8.00pm. Her logic was that kiasu Malaysians usually take an hour or two during buffets. She was right! I was hungry, sleepy, and frustrated by the time our turn arrived at 8.00pm! 75 minutes of standing, that could have been better spent elsewhere!
If WL made that estimate accurately, I don’t see why the management could not? Or were they just unwilling to make the commitment? Its not as though we would kill them if they were wrong. I’m sure we’re civil enough that if they told us we had to wait 2 hours, we would have gone shopping and come back later. No foul, no harm. We would have returned happy with shopping bags in tow and asked about our turn. At worst, we would have to wait another fifteen minutes for a table to be available. But instead, due to their lack of commitment and responsibility, we wasted an additional hour just foolishly standing around! Shogun should take a leaf out of Chilis’ book, as they have excellent waiting list policy.
- Shogun: Japanse Buffet Restaurant -
Anyway, the inside of the restaurant is huge. I estimate that they can accomodate up to 350 people at any given moment and the tables are spaced out quite well. It was good enough that you could hold a private conversation at the table without the need to shout over the din or the fear of being overheard by the next table.
- Shogun: Fresh Hand Rolls -
- Shogun: Sushi And Stuff -
Food wise, I think that they have an excellent selection. There’s a sushi counter from which you can get the standard fair of freshly made sushi, raw salmons and mackerels, baby octupus, cold Japanese noodles, and salads. Additionally, you can also request for a variety of hand rolls (e.g. california, spider [softshell crabs], tempura prawns, salmon, and mackerel) at the counter. To appease my grumbling stomach, I started with sushi, two handrolls, and an unhealthy serving of raw salmon (YUM!).
Feeling a lot better and a little less grumpy after the first pass, I took my time to explore the rest of the restaurant. I discovered that the seating area is actually divided into several sections. The section we were sitting in was on a raised platform next to the main entrance. Our table was right behind the drinks counter. To the far left of the restaurant were some rooms where you can hold private parties or entertain guests. There was in fact a birthday party inside while we were there. The last secion spans the width of the restaurant and covers the area all the way to the back.
Similarly, the food is also divided into different categories. There’s the cold sushi bar, hot dishes, soup section, Tepanyaki and Tempura, a small selection of Korean foods (seems to be the popular but odd combination in a Japanese buffet), a desert island, the drink and ice cream station, and the bar counter. The bar counter is where you settle the bill, but it also doubles as a bar for ordering beverages (I think).
Hot dishes consists of a selection of Japanese and Chinese cuisines such as teriyaki chicken, stewed beef, stir fried vegetables and tofu, barbequed chicken wings, deep fried scallops (nice), and much much more. I counted at least 20 different hot dishes which is a very wide selection indeed. In the soup section, they had miso and sharks fin soup. Neither were good, as they were overtly salty and laced with MSG. I gave that and the Korean counter a miss.
- Shogun: Hot Dishes, Tempura And Stuff -
- Shogun: Lamb Tepanyaki -
- Shogun: Vegetable Tepanyaki -
Which brings me to the tepanyaki and tempura. For tempura, you get the usual deep fried stuff. The must tries are the oyster, prawns, and softshell crab tempuras. The rest is the usual selection of vegetables and hash brown. The Tepanyaki on the other hand is special. Instead of simply specifying the type of tepanyaki you want (e.g. beef, salmon, lamb, chicken, prawns, etc), they have a selection of vegetables (brocolli, and fresh green), mushrooms, udon, and meats laid out on the counter that you choose from. In other words, you pick it, they cook it. So whatever you want, just pile it into a plate (or bowl) and hand it over to the tepanyaki chef. If you observe carefully, you’ll also notice that the people behind the counter are actually imported Japanese chefs ;) So forgive them if they are not very conversationable or seem a little aloof.
Since I was at Saisaki Japanese Buffet about two month back, I can’t help but make the comparison between the two restaurants. While both have basically the same make up of food selection, they place their emphasis differently. Shogun has the better Tepanyaki and Hot Dishes (way better) while Saisaki makes better sushis and grill. Tempuras are the same. However, Saisaki has Shabu Shabu (Japanese steamboat) which I noticed was not available at Shogun (or perhaps it was because I didn’t ask).
After four or five rounds of food, I was stuffed to the point that I found it difficult to stand straight and breath at the same time. I was full enough that I skipped the ice cream. Not that I was missing anything since they served the standard flavours of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. No green tea ice cream (another item that Saisaki serves which is unavailable here).
The bill came up to RM98.90 for two persons inclusive of 5% govt tax and 10% service charge (RM43.00 per head prior to tax). Like all Japanese buffets, this one is, in my opinion overpriced. However among the choices of Japanese buffets that I’ve tried so far, this one is reasonable enough. The selection is abundant and, because they have a relatively high turnover, the food is fresh. While I enjoyed the meal, I was kind of frustrated and put off by the queue and price. So I can’t say that I recommend or condemn it. The choice is really yours to make. Having said that, I will not go again at my own expense. A different story though, if someone wants to sponsor my meal.
A piece of advice if you do decide to go. Call in early and make reservations. Alternatively, be the first in line before they open. If you’re having dinner and you arrive late (e.g. the restaurant is full), put your name down on the waiting list and go do your shopping. No point standing around like a fool. Coming back around 8.00pm will almost guarantee you a spot, minus the frustration of waiting.
Side Note: Price Hike
10 April 2007: The price will be increased again as of this date. The adjusted price will see lunch on weekdays going for RM43.00 (unchanged) while patrons for dinner and weekends will be charged RM52.00 (+RM4.00).
1 March 2006: Shogun has increased the price of their buffet. Weekday lunch which was priced at RM39.00 is now RM43.00. Dinners, weekends, and public holidays they charge you RM48.00 instead of RM43.00! RM5.00!! The sheet of printed paper with the announcement appeared on the podium at the entrance a couple of weeks ago. These people must have gotten wiff of the imminent 30 sen fuel hike. Some more nicely change the 3 to a 5 and add a zero behind.
Shogun Japanese Buffet Restaurant
Lot S 335A, 2nd Floor Oval,
1-Utama Shopping Centre,
No: 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama,
47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Business Hours: Lunch (12.00 noon - 3.30pm) and Dinner (6.30pm - 10.00pm)
Adults (Lunch): RM43.00
Adults (Dinner): RM52.00
Adults (Weekends and Public Holidays Lunch/Dinner): RM52.00
Children: Half price
Tel (Office): +603-7726 3770
Tel (Hunting Line): +603-7726 5770 / +603-7728 0770
Tel (Fax): +603-7728 9770