To anyone who keeps track (or would like to know), this is my second restaurant review =D I’m still quite uncomfortable with taking pictures in restaurants because I keep thinking that someone will come and tell me that photo taking is not allowed. And people give me weird looks too…..
Back to the point- we had been to Charcoal mine before but that was many years ago. When we decided to go back again, we unfortunately chose a Friday (a couple of weeks ago) which was completely booked out so we had to leave and go to some other restaurant. A couple of weeks later, we found ourselves back here- and this time, with a booking for 7:30pm. Unfortunately, this was the day of the Eels vs Panther game so it was so difficult to find parking (although we did find out later that the restaurant actually had its own parking at the back).
Maybe it was because of the football game going on, the restaurant was not nearly as full as it had been a couple of weeks earlier. We got a good table, right next to the food – as this was a buffet style bbq- but were quite dissappointed at the selection. It had a smaller choice of food than other BBQ’s that we had been to and most importantly, had no dessert!!!! We were so tempted to leave except that we were already seated and it was rude to leave, especially since we made booking. So we stayed there anyway.
To those of you who have never been to a Korean BBQ buffet, it’s like a normal buffet but instead of having a selection of cooked foods, they have cooked foods and raw meat which is usually marinated in really yummy Korean sauces. You then cook the meat on the bbq hot plate and then eat! Which is not as easy as it seems- if you have poor grilling skills, you’ll end up with lots of burnt food…like me!
Usually, at other buffet style Korean BBQ restaurants, the bbq it turned on pretty much the moment you get there. So we were quite confused when 10 minutes later (literally), none of the waiters had turned them on. Then we found out that the grills here were not electrically powered but were heated by burning charcoal- hence the name “charcoal mine”. I think you can just see the flame underneath the food…..it’s pretty cool
Whilst we were waiting, we started with the cold food which didn’t need to be cooked. We had a bit of Kimchi, salad and some fruit. Yes fruit-beause the watermelon looked so sweet and watery (and it was)!!
Selection of meats
When the charcoal finally arrived, we got to start….As you can see, the selection isn’t all that great. But you know what? The quality of the food was a lot higher than at other places we’ve tried which certainly made up for the small selection. Everything quite good and we kept getting more! I particularly liked this section because they’re so fun to try! I didn’t actually find out what any of them tasted like because once all the meats are cooked, they all look the same! But it was fun to guess what I was eating. The kidney was nice….but to forever to cook!
The salad here was really interesting too because it consisted mostly of sprouts. I don’t usually like sprouts but the ones here were big and juicy! And the mushrooms- they were HUGE! and also big and juicy (is that a word you use to describe mushrooms??)
As there was no dessert, we finished with the fruits- which only consisted of watermelons and oranges. By the time were finished eating, it was around 9:30- although I’m sure we could’ve kept eating for the longer had it not been for the waitresses who were (not so) subtly trying to get us to leave. The whole meal was $31 per adult ($2 more than it would cost on a normal weekday). And it left us all smelling like Korean bbq…