Izu Village is a Japanese hot pot on busy George Street in the city. For $68, you can eat as much wagyu, sushi and vegetables as your pot can boil and you can eat. One of the main drawcards is their 10 broth styles too and plate of sashimi.
It's our first time visiting Izu Village so they explain a few house rules which is a good thing because I'm not used to buffet hot pots. It's good value if you go as a group of four because the fourth person eats for free.
Japanese hot pot is different from Chinese hot pot. There is no range of sauces to choose from to dip your meats into. But there is one advantage: unlimited sushi and one platter of sashimi per table.
All of the sushi varieties taste quite similar to each other although I do like the tuna one. They suggest getting a sampler plate of everything and then deciding which ones you might like more of.
The sashimi is nice although quite thinly sliced and small pieces. I like the raw prawn which they shell for us at the table.
There are ten soups to choose from and they tell us the most popular is the sukiyaki and the collagen soy bean milk pot. I'm vain as hell so I always go for the collagen which is said to be good for the skin.
This one comes with a little round of jellied collagen that you put into the soybean milk pot. For the other soup base we go for the tom yum one which is both our favourite as it really imparts flavour into the meat and vegetables. The collagen one comes with a spicy sauce to dip things into because it is quite bland on its own.
Some items are buffet style while others they bring to you. Randomly, it's things like rice and noodles that you order with the staff along with the four types of meat. There is a soft drinks station with unlimited soft drinks (the winter melon is a favourite).
There is also a vegetable and "ball" station. This is where you can get things like mushrooms, greens and the range of seafood balls for your hot pot.
There are four meats available: lamb mysteriously described as "Mutton various origins", pork shoulder, wagyu chuck shoulder and wagyu chuck roll. These also cook in no time at all and you can order as much as you want of these.
I went a bit wild with the vegetables and balls section because that's my favourite section and they give you a bowl to fill up with them.
There are six types of balls: lobster balls, cheese and sticky rice balls, cheese fish tofu, crab claw, mochi nugget, tako balls and lobster salad balls. My favourite by far is the tako or octopus ball, mochi nugget and cheese fish tofu.
There are also dishes like potato salad, green salad and jellyfish salad along with 7 other salads that you order with staff. Out of the three I liked the potato salad.
Instagram vs reality
Dessert is unfortunately a case of Instagram vs Reality. The chocolate mousse, ordered because it looked so pretty is a shade of its former self. There is a bit of a sad sprinkling of hundreds and thousands.
Mango ice dessert
We also order the mango shave ice dessert that reminds me of Chinese mango dessert at yum cha (and also looks nothing like the picture).
While the raindrop cake is a jelly dessert with kinako powder on top and syrup that does actually look like the photo!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like Japanese hot pot? Do you prefer buffet style or a la carte? And do you often have a case of Instagram vs reality?
NQN and Mr NQN were guests of Zomato but all opinions remain her own.
630 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Open 7 days 11am–2:30pm, 5–10pm
Phone: (02) 8288 9035