By Pattarawadee Saengmanee
The Sunday Nation
ONE OF THE most popular Japanese restaurant chains in Bangkok, Oishi Group has once again scored a first with the launch of its brand-new, all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. The aptly named Oishi Eaterium offers no fewer than 88 tantalising Japanese platters and desserts that are guaranteed to slake the appetite of even the hungriest diner.
Perched on the seventh floor of Central Plaza Grand Rama IX, this 260-seat eatery, which opened in December, captures the unique Japanese street food culture. The decoration is yatai style, with lines of food stalls offering sushi, sashimi, temaki, hot dishes and desserts.
“Eaterium” combines “eat, explore and premium” and is an apt description of what customers can expect while enjoying a meal. Lively and smart, the restaurant sports a black ceiling painted with Japanese sakura motifs and is equipped with lighting that changes colour according to the season and colourful graffiti art that evokes a holiday mood.
“Our Japanese restaurant profile started in 1999 when we opened the original Oishi Buffet branch on Soi Thonglor aiming to make Japanese food accessible and friendly to the pocket. Back then Japanese dishes were expensive and tended to be available either at fine-dining restaurants or five-star hotels. We received good feedback and we tried to develop our service and recipes. Today Oishi Buffet has more than 200 branches across the country and has expanded to include a premium buffet line at Oishi Grand,” says Pavich Jitsantiah, corporate communications manager of Oishi Group.
“The latest addition, Oishi Eaterium, aims to give customers a new dining experience. Our concept is to combine Japanese dishes and Japanese tourist attractions under one roof. The flavour of food will take customers on a journey around Japan. They can indulge in authentic Japanese cuisine that will delight all the senses.”
The buffet is divided into eight zones. Judging by the crowd, the Sushi & Sashimi station is one of the most popular with its range of freshly-made Engawa Nigiri, Anago Nigiri, Aburi Salmon Nigiri, Crab Aspic, Salmon Toro Sashimi and Gunkan and Toro Salmon Sushi. Also available are the basic side dishes Kimuchi, Edamame and Japanese Seaweed Salad.
Gunkan and Toro Salmon Sushi
“This is the first outlet to use an innovative barcode scanner that allows customers to place their orders and be served at table by our staff. Most ingredients come from the local market and imports make up about to 30 per cent, for example salmon from Norway. Our dishes will be rotated every three months to ensure variety” Pavich says. “And of course all the dishes are prepared form the freshest ingredients.”
A food truck is parked in the Temaki station and the chefs wrap the cone-shaped temaki sushi piece by piece with Japanese rice, vegetables, soft shell crab, salmon, tonkatsu, tuna, fried shrimp and sweetened eggs.
The Kushikatsu & Yakitori stalls boast more than 100 sticks of grilled or fried vegetables, meat and seafood. They include crispy Crab Croquette and Cheese, Shrimp Tempura, Fried Gyoza, salty Grilled Toro Salmon and Barbecued Beef, and are served with a wide range of Japanese sauces.
The Teppanyaki corner has a choice of six sizzling dishes featuring shrimp, mixed seafood, salmon, beef and pork with cheese lava. For its part, the Main Dish counter in the centre of the restaurant offers giant Baked New Zealand Mussels with garlic butter, Grilled Halibut with Miso Green-tea Sauce, Steamed Beef with Japanese Sauce, Stewed Duck Feet in Brown Sauce and Steamed Salmon.
Grilled Halibut with MisoGreen Tea Sauce and Baked New Zealand Mussels with Garlic Butter
Entertainment comes in the form of live cooking demonstrations with chefs sharing their techniques for slicing salmon and cooking teppanyaki dishes. Queues also form at the Harajuku Cafe zone where customers can feast on layered Mille Crepe Cake from Japan served with refreshing sour passion fruit sauce, pancakes with a choice of sweet syrups and Kakigori, the oh-so-trendy shaved iced dessert with melon, chocolate and green tea sauce.
Oishi Eaterium is opening a second branch at Seacon Square in April.
BIG BITES, BUFFET STYLE
>> Oishi Eaterium is on the seventh floor of Central Plaza Grand Rama IX. It’s open daily from 11am to 10pm. The price is Bt659 plus for one hour and 45 minutes.