Thursday, October 22, 2015

Shabu Ghin's Grand Opening Event

Big thanks to Kak Oliv, whom without her, this blogspot wouldn't exist. 

A million hugs and kisses to the Shabu Ghin crew, Pak Greg, Kak Novi, and Kak Wisnu whose kindness exceeds the fairy godmother herself. If it weren't for you guys, I would still be a Shabu Ghin virgin until God-knows when. 

✈   ✈   

Me, Gita, and the Shabu Ghin crew

Unlike Gita, who happens to have eaten shabu-shabu before, I was a shabu-shabu virgin to tell the truth. I know not the origins of the delicacies, nor the food stuff contained in it. Heck, I didn't even know how to indulge in the dish properly! So, when I found out that I was invited by the Shabu Ghin crew to attend it's grand opening event, I went straight to cloud nine. 

It was at noon when Gita and I arrived at the shabu-shabu restaurant - fifteen minutes into it's opening hour and the restaurant was unoccupied with crowds of hungry citizens. As an early bird, I was rewarded with a parking lot for my car. Usually, it is a bit of a challenge to get a parking space at most restaurants in Senopati because they generally only provide four, up to six, parking lots; and did I mention that the traffic is sickening? 

We didn't struggle that much to locate the restaurant. Just across Seven Eleven, you just can't miss the black colored building of the restaurant, with its' eye catching white colored Japanese writings. 

Definitely can't miss it

We were about to set foot into the restaurant when the staff opened the restaurant door for us and greeted us with the brightest smile ever. The waitresses then welcomed us and confirmed about whether we already have reservation, or not, in the most proper and friendliest manner they can ever bring out. No, seriously, the waitresses were beyond friendly I ended up nodding my head all the time to express gratitude every time they said something to me. "Selamat datang," she said, I nodded. "Sudah ada reservasi sebelumnya," she asked, I nodded. "Maaf, mbak, sudah ada reservasi sebelumnya," she confirmed, I snapped out of consciousness and spoke human language. 

We were then escorted to our table by one of the waitresses and was given a menu. She offered to help us in terms of choosing the meat to indulge, which I accepted because I know nothing about this set of food. 

I just love how this particular waitress explained to us about the details of the meat and the basic flavor of the soup used for the hot pot. She even narrowed down our food options and gave recommendations about which one we should have. How great is that, right? 

Some waitress that I have encountered in my life can be ignorant about the food served at the restaurant they work at and they can be rude as well, which is an instant loss of appetite. But, here, at Shabu Ghin, you will only find the friendliest, most welcoming, and knowledgable staff you can ever find, yet. 50 points for Shabu Ghin!

Look at that happy face behind the menu board

What to chose? 

There were three kinds of beef available at Shabu Ghin, which were the Special Beef, the US Premium Beef, and the Wagyu Beef. We couldn't decide which set of beef we should take because all of them looked super appealing. In details, the waitress explained the differences between each meat. "Special Beef itu dagingnya tipis dan empuk, dan lemaknya sedikit. Beda dengan US Premium yang banyak lemaknya. Dagingnya lembut juga, hanya saja lemaknya lebih banyak ketimbang dua daging lainnya. Nah, untuk Wagyu Beef, dia memiliki tekstur kelembutan yang sama seperti US Premium, hanya saja lemaknya sangat sedikit dan di permukaannya ada motif marble." 

As for the soup, you can choose up to five different selections of flavored broth with an additional Rp29.000,00 each. There were five kinds of soup, which were the Original Konbu, Chicken Mizutaki, Spicy Tonyu, Spicy Seafood, and Sukiyaki. 

Again, the waitress was very detailed in explaining the basic flavor of the soup, which was very helpful for me and Gita to make it easier for us to chose which we would have. "Kalau Spicy Tonyu itu hampir mirip rasanya dengan kuah opor, mbak. Nah, kalau Spicy Seafood itu seperti rasa Tom Yum, dan kalau Sukiyaki itu agak manis dan sedikit asin," she explained. She recommended us the Original Konbu Soup because people dig that particular flavor at Shabu Ghin. I decided to go with what she recommended to ease the curiosity. And, as for Gita, she went with the Chicken Mizutaki Soup. 

Your choice of an all-you-can-eat buffet

Eating utensils

There were lots of side dishes to choose from the buffet table, and the choices varies from condiments, fruits, vegetables, raw food, and even cooked dishes. Me and Gita took a couple from every food stuff available so that we could have a taste of everything. 

The raw food stuff were mostly fish related, and some of them I was not that familiar with. There was this bowl of what seemed to be orange balls, which turned out to be salmon flavored balls; cylinder shaped frozen dough with white filling, who goes by the name oborotsuki, that was actually fish balls; another bowl filled with white fish balls, raw fish, crab cakes, and seafood filled tofu. 

I didn't eat vegetables that much on that day - as I only took a pair of baby bokcoy, a piece of baby corn, and a spoonful of bean sprouts - but I tried every mushroom served at the buffet table. There were brown shimeji, enoki, and shiitake mushroom, plus some more that were deep fried with tempura batter on the other side of the buffet table. Oh, and did I tell you that I don't like mushroom?

Some greens, perhaps?

Fish based raw food

Various options of edible fungus

A bowl of Oborotsuki, or fish balls

Personal favorite condiment 

Chilly powder to add some taste

Strings of cold and chewy udon were also available for us to dig in

A diverse choices of Japanese cuisine and Korean cuisine were the options that we can chose from the cooked dishes. Two kinds of sushi were served on that day, but they didn't stand out much compared to the other side dishes, as they were merely cucumber filled rolled rice topped with fried shallots.

Various kinds of tempura were also served on the buffet table, such as spinach tempura, string bean tempura, onion tempura, sweet potato tempura, enoki tempura, and mushroom tempura. I'm not a big fan of the veggie tempura, especially the spinach tempura and string bean tempura, because they were very very oily. The tempura batter stood out more than the mushroom itself, blinding my tastebud about the fact that they are mushroom, so I keep finding myself craving for more of Shabu Ghin's enoki tempura and mushroom tempura. 

I was not a big fan of the chicken karaage, though. They were fine, deliciously savory and crispy in fact, but I don't like how the chicken meat was oily and fatty. 

I also had a bowl of gyüdon, which is basically a bowl of warm rice topped with sweet beef and onion soup. The flavor of the gyüdon was perfect for my taste - the beef was very tender and honey-like, while the savory and sweet broth was on point. I may not know the exact authenticity of a Japanese cuisine, but this dish right here truly was Japan in a pot.  

Your choice of sauces 

Unappealing, but tasted good!

A pot of beef soup to have your warm rice with

Sushi, anybody?

I found a unique fusion between Japanese and Italy in one of the dishes, which is the Bolognese Ramen. People usually blend spaghetti with bolognese sauce, but Shabu Ghin decided to go out of its' comfort zone and ended up creating this exceptional love child. 

Two thumbs up for the chef who made the bolognese sauce because he, or she, actually used meat in the sauce mixture instead of just tomato like most restaurant do. There was actually a generous amount of meat in the sauce, and the sauce itself was rich in flavor - sweet, slightly piquant, savory from the meat, and a refreshingly sour from the tomato. On the other hand, the ramen was nicely cooked - not too hard and not too mushy - and it mixed well with the bolognese sauce. Simply enjoyable!

Now this is something you don't see everyday

My personal favorite was the chapchae! For those who are not yet familiar with what chapchae is, it is a korean cuisine consists of stir fried sweet potato noodle, with sesame oil, vegetable, beef, then topped with a handful of sesame seed. It was my first time eating chapchae and I feel in love instantly.

I just love the consistency of the chewy chapchae, plus whatever seasoning that the chef put into the dish made the sweet potato noodle tasted even better. Them beef and veggies add an extra kick, making the whole dish a burst of flavor. 

My favorite side dish from Shabu Ghin!

Would definitely come back for more of this

The beverages here at Shabu Ghin is also refillable, and the drinks varies from hot to cold, juice to coffee, and sweet to bitter. I had a glass of iced ocha, while Gita had her share of hot ocha because she was having a sore throat. 

I was very curious with this funky gadget that serves iced Milo and cold juice, just adjacent to the ice ocha machine. After I finished my glass of iced ocha, I proceed to the beverage corner to get me a glass of cold fusion juice. As expected, I didn't know how to operate the machine. I tried to look for a button to push so that the juice will flow into the empty glass that I have, but my search was to no avail. I ended up asking for help from one of the waitress. 

"Mbak, boleh minta tolong," I asked, "ini pencet yang mana ya supaya keluar jusnya?" I bet she was laughing so hard on the inside because of how frustrated I was, but she managed to keep it cool and showed me the way to operate the machine. It turned out, the machine was equipped with touch screen. Damn it, technology!

Refillable cold and hot beverages

Hot beverages for those who have sore throat

Fresh and thrist-quenching Mango & Peach juice

And, thus the fun part begins!

I was pretty much blind about the whole shabu-shabu situation, so I let Gita to take charge in terms of cooking. "Nih, Kin, pertama-tama kamu masukin dulu yang lama matengnya, kayak bakso ikan dan sebagainya," she explained, "abis itu baru deh masukin sayur-sayuran, soalnya bakal cepet matengnya." I followed her instruction like a student following a teacher's order.

"Nah, nanti kalo kamu mau masak dagingnya, dicelupin kedalem hot potnya terus diaduk-aduk biar cepet mateng. Sebentar aja tapi dicelupinnya," she added. 

Multitasking is not my forte, so I had a bit of a struggle between wanting to create a masterpiece with my hot pot and the need to take decent photographs. I eventually managed to do both, but some of my food stuff ended up overcooked because I let them swim in my Original Konbu soup for too long. But, they still tasted good, though.

Gita was so fluent in what she did with her ingredient and hot pot. She made the right choice in choosing the Chicken Mizutaki soup because the stock itself already tasted delicious, let alone adding condiments into the mixture. The savory chicken stock blended well with the garlic, chili, and chilly powder that Gita added, not to mention the fact that it was warm and bubbly, making the whole dish very enjoyable to consume. Pure bliss. 

Would you look at that!

Gita's creation in her hot pot

My pot of Original Konbu tasted delicious as well! The soup is dominated with savory and piquant flavor, with a dash of sweet and sour in it. It reminded me of how Miso soup tasted like as they share similar flavor points here and there.

I followed Gita's instruction and put in the fish balls first, followed by the veggies and udon. I had fun cooking them raw ingredients, but it was one hell of a task.

My share of original flavored soup

Put some fish in it

My favorite were the salmon flavored balls and the oborotsuki. They tasted like how fish balls are supposed to taste, but each had a slight different flavor that stood out more compared to the other seafood ingredients. 

As I said before, I'm not fond of mushroom, yet I ate every single mushroom-related food stuff available on that day. I couldn't figure out the flavor differences among enoki, brown shimeji, and shiitake mushroom, but if I have to choose which one that tasted yucky the least, it would probably be the enoki. 

To me, all mushroom tasted yucky. Yet, I keep on eating them in hope that, one day, I can open my heart for mushroom and eventually fancy them. 

What was inside my hot pot

We were overwhelmed by the fact that we get to try all three kinds of meat - Shabu Ghin's Special Beef, Shabu Ghin's US Premium Beef, and Shabu Ghin's Wagyu Beef - all of it for free and we can refill the meat as much as we want. We questioned it at first, but then the waitress who was with us earlier came back and explained that, "Karena mbak adalah tamu undangan, jadi kami akan menyediakan semua jenis daging yang kami punya untuk mbak coba." Lord Almighty..

I love the simple, yet elegant presentation of the meat. The three of them were sliced so evenly and thinly, and were served in a different colored container - the specials in black, the premium in white, and the wagyu in dark brown; stacked according to the price range of each beef set.

Gita taught me how to cook the beef in the hot pot, which is to grab a slice with a chopstick, dip it into the soup, stir it for a few seconds until it gradually changes its' color from red to gray, then dig in. "Nih, ya, aku bikinin dulu biar kamu coba dagingnya kayak gimana," she said whilst dipping a slice of her Shabu Ghin's Special Beef into her Chicken Mizutaki soup. I observed the whole process in fascination and, to be honest, were awestruck by how fast the meat got cooked. I tried my hand at cooking the beef and it didn't take long before I could master the whole dipping action.

My personal favorite would be the US Premium Beef, as they tasted so tenderly juicy and melted in my mouth, and I couldn't help but to crave for more of those jelly like fat that makes the whole dish taste even better. Don't get me wrong, the wagyu beef were delicious too - it was even more tender than the US Premium Beef - but they were lacking of those fatty goodness that I love so much. Even the Special Beef set, which was far less pricey compared to the other two, managed to capture my attention with its' tenderness.

Special Beef Set

US Premium Beef Set

Just look at them tender and juicy fat

Wagyu Beef Set

Layers and layers of tender goodness

Here's a quick vlog of me and Gita pigging out. 

Unlimited desserts were also served on the buffet table for us to enjoy - it varies from fruits, salad, jelly, and soft cream - and we had a bit of everything. We love the chocolate and vanilla pudding the most because of its' lightness and sweetness that completed our meal. I was going to get myself some green tea and vanilla ice cream, but it was unfortunate that the soft cream machine was out of order on that day.

Some pudding to end your meal

All in all, my first dining experience at Shabu Ghin was awesome! I would definitely recommend you to dine in at this shabu-shabu house when you get the chance. True, the price of the food and beverages here can be a bit expensive, especially for my fellow cadet comrades, but I don't see why you shouldn't treat yourself once in a while. 

The good news is that the restaurant is currently having this special promo that lasts until the end of October, where you can dine in like Gita and I with a special 50% discount, woohoo! Oh, and did I mention that child and senior citizen who dine in at the restaurant, will get a special prize as well? How awesome is that? 

I bet you are going to love the restaurant in and out. The comforting ambience of the spacy restaurant, combined with the friendly and well mannered restaurant staff, plus the delicious all-you-can-eat food and beverages will definitely make you want to come back for more. Trust me. 

Shabu Ghin
Jalan Wolter Mongonsidi No. 53
Senopati, Jakarta

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday: 11 AM - 3 PM and 6 PM - 10 PM
Saturday - Sunday: 11 AM - 11 PM

(+62) 21 720 2336
(+62) 21 720 1667

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