With its stylish decor, plush banquettes, tasteful lighting and smartly turned-out staff, this topnotch hotpot spot is a welcome addition to New Oxford Street, its DIY dining experience a fitting mirror to the area’s status as a seemingly permanent building site. You choose your broths – you can have up to three – and make your selection from a wide range of raw ingredients. You then cook the latter in the former at your table in a fun and sociable dining experience which improves with numbers; the more of you there are, the more ingredients you get to try. And a veggie broth option (admittedly a little closely placed to the non-veggie ones) means plenty of choice for everyone.
This being an Asian restaurant, though, carnivores definitely get the best choice. On a generous platter of beef and lamb the meat was delicately sliced and beautifully presented; cooking in seconds, adding depth to the broth, which in turn was soaked up by the two types of tofu we also added to the pot. And from a five-fungi mushroom platter we gave the likes of wood ear fungus, oyster mushrooms and enoki a good long soak in both veggie and meat broths, again turning them into moreish flavour sponges.
A vegetable and noodle platter was good value and had a generous selection of leaves, also enhanced by cooking in the broth, while some probably unnecessary spring onion pancakes were delicious; more sensible plain boiled rice provided a perfect foil to everything.
It’s not all perfect. Service was a little hit and miss, but staff are friendly and eager to please, and in their halting English – clients are mostly Asian – will steer you in the right direction regarding quantities needed. A range of Chinese spirits on the menu as well as the usual beers and wines completes the appeal.