A Korean BBQ restaurant has occupied the second floor of the space on the corner of Pennant Hills and Carlingford Roads for over a decade. Indeed, I remember when it took over from the Video Ezy back in the early 2000s when DVDs were cutting edge and everyone still had VCRs. Not that I lived nearby or even visited the Video Ezy, but I did go past it every morning on the way to school. After I graduated, I pretty much never visited Carlingford again.
J, however, landed a teaching position at a primary school in Carlingford, and has become much better acquainted with the area than D and I ever did (our school forbade students from leaving the grounds during free periods). And so almost 10 years later, we met up with J in Carlingord at Se Jong Korean BBQ Buffet for all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ with no time limit for $35 per person.
There’s an impressive range of raw protein available, including cuts of marinaded beef, pork, chicken, lamb, as well as beef tongue and chicken giblets. For the seafood options, there’s prawns, mussels, baby octopus and squid. And if you don’t feel like barbqueing everything, there’s precooked dishes. They keep selection well stocked with nary an empty tray to be seen all night.
We start off with some marinaded/spircy pork, chicken, and beef.
J, instilled with the thoughtfulness of a teacher, cuts the pieces of meat into bite-size pieces. The spicy pork was the stand out. All the meats are put through the same marinade, and it went best with the pork. There’s no cutting corners by serving cuts with excess fat or grizzle here.
Further along, there’s an equally impressive offering of vegetables including lettuce, onion, capsicum, kim chi, pumpkin, sweet potato, eggplant and mushrooms.
We stick to the sweet potato, eggplant and mushrooms. Yum!
For dessert, there’s several options on offer including, Home Brand vanilla ice cream, cubed watermelon, shortbread biscuits and brownies. The brownies were deliciously dense and rich.
More interesting dessert choices were the nurungji, a traditional Korean food made of scorched rice. Essentially, it’s the toasty, golden, crunchy layer at the base of a pot of rice.
And the other is the sikhye, a sweet Korean rice beverage made by pouring malt water onto cooked rice. It’s taste is comparable to Malaysian sweet barley water, but infinitely less appetizing when served in a giant punch bowl into paper cups.
Se Jong Korean BBQ Buffet offers good value and variety for money. As with any Korean BBQ restaurant, the seating is rather cramped, but the staff are reasonably attentive. My only complaint is that restaurant gets very smoky during the busiest dinner hours of 7 – 9pm even though the staff switch out charred plates regularly. The air conditioning is lacking and the open windows on one side of the restaurant didn’t help — with the wind blowing in from the window, it kept all the smoke inside.
Se Jong Korean BBQ Buffet is located at Shop 101, 821 Pennant Hills Rd, Carlingford NSW 2118.