London first conveyor belt hotpot Shuang Shuang has landed in Soho. The restaurant has been brought by the same group of people behind a range of popular restaurants around the world, including Boon Tong Kee which is one of Singapore famous restaurant for their Hainanese chicken.
How does it all work?
- Step 1, you will pick a broth (£7 each) from one of the three selection (Mala 麻辣, Black Bird 烏雞, Lamb Tonic 小肥羊, Fish Pond 魚泉, Temple Brew 蝦頭海鮮草本)
The selection of broths will cater for a large variety of people. If you want a sense of fiery and numbing then Mala is the spicy broth option. However, if you want a non-spicy option then there should be one of the other options to suit you.
If you are not a big fan with the flavour of lamb, then I do not recommend the Lamb Tonic broth. I tried the broth and found the lamb meat flavour too strong, even for some one who does eat lamb.
My favourite out of the broth I tried would have to be the Temple Brew which is Shaung Shuang’s vegan broth. According to the menu this broth is made with soy milk (豆奶), shitake mushrooms (香菇), White Turnip (白蘿蔔) and Dried Liquorice Root (甘草根). I did not see any shitake mushroom or turnip in the broth. But to my surprise it was a broth full of flavour.
Alternatively the black bird broth we could see some of the ingredients it had used which included Jujubes (黑棗) and Chinese Wolfberries (枸杞).
- Step 2, Mix your dipping sauce ready to use, for your cooked ingredients.
Hotpot is never with out a range of sauces and this is where you can be creative to mix a sauce of your choice. We were automacticlly served three different sauces with our broth.
- Step 3, Choose your ingredients from the conveyor belt and add them to your broth to cook.
Each plates are colour coded to reference the different prices which range from £1 to £4.30. You can use the menu booklet to obtain the exact prices of each ingredients that are available.
The ingredients included a selection of beef, chicken, lamb, pork, fish and shellfish, vegetables, tofu and noodles.
Each raw ingredients on the conveyor belt are covered with a lid and will have a label to try to tell you if it contains seafood, pork, chicken, beef or a combination. But it was not always easy to know the exact ingredients when providing with just a general category.
The label will specify at least how long you need to cook from boiling the broth. This is a guidance and I always recommend that ingredients such as meat need to be cook throughly before consuming.
Two of the ingredients that I found worth picking or ordering (if you can’t see it on the conveyor belt) is Shuang Shuang’s house prawn balls (£2.90) and house prawn & pork balls (£2.30).
They come in a cool looking bamboo looking tube with a matching spatula. You would use the spatula to scrape a ball of paste in to the broth to create your own funny looking prawn ball or prawn & pork ball.
You will find a lot of the typical ingredients for hotpot such as sliced meat, sliced fish, fish balls, chopped vegetables and lots more. There were some that I would not commonly would had used for hotpot such as Chinese dough (油條), which surprisingly work with the broth. But you will have to make sure you do not leave it in too long or it will become too soggy.
The bow beancurd (豆皮結) was the complete opposite where you can leave it in as long you want, as they will take a while to become soften. So you do not worry about over cooking them too long.
Although upstairs there are sharing broth, most of the seats you will get your own individual broth. Although traditionally hotpot is one pot shared between the table it can be great to have your own broth. You know what ingredients you have put in the broth and to suit your own dietary requirement.
You can add different ingrediants to your chosen broth and make it to your own, such as using fragance shitake mushroom. Here is how my Temple broth started and then looked like after adding a few raw ingredients.
To complete your hotpot meal you can order one of Shuang Shuang’s dessert. We were unable to try the Brandy-infused Persimmon (£4) so instread tried their Soy milk ice cream served with Candied Ginger (£4.50).
The ice cream was creamy in texture and light ion flavour. The candied ginger went well with the soy milk ice cream and gave it another level of flavour to the dessert.
Shuang Shuang also offers a range of Chinese tea including the beautiful flower tea. Not all tea you will be able to top with water to and will only be for one round.
The cost of having hotpot at Shuang Shuang can add up. Just as you do at a conveyor belt sushi, the plates can get taller which means the cost also goes up. We had 25% off during the soft launch and manage to eat £30 per head.
Dining out for hotpot is generally expensive and there are now fewer places in London offering buffet hotpot. But in the Asian community, hotpot is regarded some thing you would have at home as a family or for hosting a big group because it is easy to do.
Shuang Shuang is probably a place to consider if you were dining alone. It is especially great for the colder season as you can warm up with a steaming broth and watch the ingredients go round and round on the conveyor belt, keeping you eyes open for some thing delicious to add to your very own broth. But just beware of your money bank as you could easily find yourself paying for a fine dining bill.
(Prices and menu correct at the time of dining)
64 Shaftesbury Avenue,