Koh-Ya Japanese BBQ Restaurant, Orchid Plaza *CLOSED DOWN*

I have been meaning/wanting to go to Koh-Ya for some time now and last weekend I finally stepped up to the plate so to speak and gave it a go.  Koh-ya is a Yakiniku Japanese BBQ restaurant upstairs at Orchid Plaza that has been there for since 2003.  According to www.yakiniku.com.au Yakiniku is an eating style in which fresh, seasoned ingredients such as meat, seafood and vegetables are cooked on a mesh over a direct flame.  Each individual booth at Koh-ya has it’s own grill for you to cook your food on.  This is exactly the reason why one of my friends declined my invitation to join ST and I for dinner on this particular night.  In his own words… ‘Why the hell would I want to pay to cook my own food?’  Each to their own I guess but I wanted to try it out.

Booth with Individual Grill

At Koh-ya there is an a-la-carte menu as well as two buffet options.  There are 44 dishes to choose from on the AU$39.90 buffet menu including dishes like prawns, octopus, mussels, chicken, beef, miso soup, mushrooms and sliced onion.  The more expensive buffet option of AU$49.90 includes all these dishes plus a few more such as sashimi, intenstine and tripe.  Although both ST and I love sashimi neither of us is keen on the latter so we just went for the AU$39.90 buffet.  There are a few ‘Terms and Conditions’ that one needs to be aware of when dining at Koh-ya.  These ‘Terms and Conditions’ are listed at the bottom of the menu and state that the buffet is 90 minutes long and this time begins from when you order your first dish.  No problem there… 90 minutes is pretty long time to eat for and I think we were only eating for about 40 minutes in total.  The second important condition is that any excess uneaten food must be paid for, i.e. if you order a sh*tload of food and don’t eat it all then expect to pay for it when you leave.  Having said that, I had a quick look at the food left behind by the table next to us that paid just before us and they had quite a lot of food leftover that they weren’t asked to pay for.

The Mesh Grill

On arriving at Koh-ya the friendly Japanese waitress showed us to our booth where we both ordered the buffet and she promptly lit up our grill to allow it to preheat while we waited for our first orders to arrive.  She then brought us each a dipping sauce that was like a light soy sauce accompanied with a wedge of lemon and some chilli powder (I’m pretty sure that’s what it was).

Dipping Sauce with Lemon and Chilli Powder

On arriving ST was most excited to see one of her all-time favourite dishes on the buffet menu – Yukke.  According to Wikipedia Yukke is made from raw minced beef seasoned with various spices or sauces, usually with a raw egg cracked over the top.  The most tender part of the beef is used, the fat is removed and the beef is julienned and then mixed with the seasoning.  The seasoning is soy sauce, sugar, salt, sesame oil and a few other bits and bobs.  ST ordered a Yukke for herself and decided that I had to have one too.  I was a little dubious about eating raw beef.  I have absolutely no qualms about eating raw seafood but meat is a little different.  I gave it a go, breaking my egg yolk with my spoon and mixing it into the red mince.  Once I got over the texture of the raw mince it was delicious, and I mean REALLY good.  In fact I could go another bowl right now just thinking about it!  The meat was almost sweet from the various seasoning that had been mixed into it and unfortunately I got into it so quickly I didn’t even get a picture of it so you will just have to go and have one for yourself.  We ordered about 10 dishes all up including Shake Gohan (Salmon Rice), prawns, squid, octopus, mussels and beef rib.

Shake Gohan




We ordered about 3 plates of beef rib between us just because it was so juicy and tender.

Beef Rib

ST ordered a bowl of edamame to nibble on whilst we were waiting for our food to cook on the grill.  I love those yummy little pods of salty goodness and they are also good for fidgeters like me since they keep your hands busy.


Each item comes out on a small serving plate with 2 or 3 pieces each, depending on what you order.  If you like a particular item you can just keep ordering more and it’s better this way because you don’t have hardly any waste.  The food at Koh-ya is pretty basic, not at all fancy however it’s pretty healthy (as long as you control your portion size) and it’s tasty too.  I’m no butcher but the meat that they serve you is really lean and good quality.  The wait staff are also very friendly and helpful albeit a little hard to understand.  Disappointingly, as is the case all too often, the seafood at Koh-ya is imported which wasn’t a surprise to me.  You need to take a bit of a systematic approach to cooking your food otherwise you sit there and wait too long and that’s no good for an impatient person like me (that’s what people tell me anyway).  The best way to do it is to have something on the grill while you are eating and have something on order as well, that way you always have something to eat and everything flows nicely.  It’s a good and bad thing that you have to cook your own food depending on which way you look at it.  I thought it was kind of fun and and you can just chat with your company while you work your little BBQ and tongs.  The best thing about doing the cooking at Koh-ya is that you don’t have to clean up the mess afterwards.

Koh-Ya Japanese BBQ Restaurant

Orchid Plaza Shop 50 12-14 Lake St, Cairns QLD 4870

Ph: (07) 4041 6006

Posted on March 23, 2012, in Cairns and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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