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Published December 29th 2012
Food Business Gone Korean
Buffet restaurants are certainly not a novelty. However excluding Korean barbecue restaurants, Asia-Buffet Yoon is the first exclusive Korean buffet restaurant I know of in Adelaide. Everytime that I passed by here I would wonder who the next lessee would be after the very successful The Food Business, which operated intimately for many years in this location, vacated the premises.
Located at Linden Avenue in the leafy suburb of Hazelwood Park, it was with anticipation that Adelaide would be rewarded with yet another praiseworthy eatery. So just one week short of completing renovations, I ventured to Asia-Buffet Yoon.
Run by a Korean family, Asia-Buffet Yoon is not Wan and Victoria's first venture into the hospitality business. Interestingly, their first Korean buffet restaurant began in Germany about fifteen years ago. Do not be be suprised if by slip of tongue they greet you with "Guten Tag" instead of "Hello or Good Day". This Korean couple can roll German (as a language) off their tongue faster than they do English.
A small parking lot right in front of the building makes it very accessible. Nearby there is more parking availability with the added advantage of shade provided by the many trees surrounding the area.
Upon entry Wan and his young son greeted us enthusiastically. Payment for the "all you can eat" is required at the counter before commencement of dining. Whilst the rest of my family proceeded to sit down to enjoy their meal, I scooted around the restaurant snapping up as many photographs as possible before the imminient arrival of more patrons.
From the outside Asia-Buffet Yoon is deceptively small. Much to my surprise the interior is spacious with different areas to separate guests if privacy is required. In the far recess of the building is a modest size room which seems to be part of an attached building. This room is suitable for a party of ten to fifteen people. Yet another area with a fireplace gives the illusion of being in a dining room at a private home.
With light neutral tones and the look of wood throughout, the decor is pleasing to the eye. Traditional Korean style furnishings and wall hangings enhance the surroundings. Furthermore, decorative murals featuring nature give a very pleasant feel.
Though not what I would describe as a lavish spread, the buffet choices were sufficiently pleasing and diverse. With the option of three different soups and a number of mains, dessert was the only course which may need some improvements. There were few choices when it came to the sweets. Sweets or desserts in the western sense of the word are not found in traditional Asian cuisine and this is reflected here.
Overall, the food was delicious and there were a few dishes that stood out. Amongst these were a flavoursome spicy beef soup with daikon (Yukgaejang), a sweet and spicy fried chicken wing (Yangnum) and eggplant with bell peppers and onions. They went very well with the Korean rice.
There is a tendency to stereotype Korean foods to be spicy. At Asia-Buffet Yoon, only three of the options were truly spicy. So if you have kids who have yet to master fiery hotness there are many foods here that they can eat. The young ones might also like the meatballs, panfried dumplings, thick cut fries, battered broccoli and battered fish. Best of all, children under six eat free and those who are older pay a discounted rate.
For dinner, there are additional items like Bibimpap (mixed rice) and Korean barbecued meats like LA ribs and sushi.
Wan informed me a coffee machine is on its way and a more extensive alcoholic beverage list will follow in the next few weeks. It will not be long before their outdoor dining will be available. Right now, Asian-Buffet Yoon is still finding its feet but I can see it doing well in this part of the Eastern suburb with its modest Korean community.
For one who normally does not like buffets I have made this an exception.