316 St Pauls Tce Fortitude Valley
Jong Ga is a dodgy looking Korean BBQ restaurant at the top of the valley, in what may be described as the dodgier part of the valley, and when entering you completely understand why it is in that location. This restaurant takes up a massive room with no air-conditioning and windows that only half open; unlike other BBQ places it has no ventilation device to take the heat away from the table and in the awful humidity of a Queensland spring/summer results in a meal where sweating is the main course.
The dining area of the restaurant is exceptionally bright and there are several Bain-maries with a selection of awfully dry dishes and dreadful sushi, however I didn’t come to this restaurant for the buffet of dreadful food, I came for the buffet of all you can eat BBQ meat, unsurprisingly the meat was frozen (it almost always is in Brisbane) but this being Korean BBQ meant that the loss of freshness was nigh irrelevant. Otherwise the room felt similar to a Sizzler or something with tables lined up in rows and feeling cheap, with a tiny fridge not out of place in a school tuckshop holding all the beers (only really Sapporo and Cass) The relative emptiness gave off a vibe of general dislike, and other people at the restaurant appeared to be the type that came because it was cheap all you can buffet.
The service was alright with a lot of attention every now and again but very little when it was actually desired, due to it being buffet style, there were very few staff in restaurant with most attending to keeping the Bain-maries stocked with food. The food was at best average and at worst sour, and when a frozen piece of meat is sour, something is seriously wrong. The Kimchi was obviously store bought, and the Chadol Baki (thinly sliced beef brisket) was in far too small pieces to be manageable on the grill plate. The remainder of the types of meat were mostly unmemorable, with the ox tongue (normally a fantastic part of BBQ) being too thin and small to get the flavour that I desired from it. The constant need to get up and get more meat, lettuce and Kimchi, made the dinner a lot of getting food, broken up by eating it.
I would not return to Jong Ga unless it was due to another’s insistence, due mainly to the fact that there are several much better BBQ’s in this city, and while they may be more expensive, I believe unless you are a greedy eat everything in sight person, the plates of meat at other BBQ restaurants will be sufficient and the quality will make up for the loss in quantity.
The all you can Eat Buffet costs $28.5 per person. Sapporo’s and Cass’s cost $7.5 each
Jong Ga is open 5pm to 10pm 7 days a week.