Just to assure you, beauty in the pot doesn't mean we would be cannibalizing anyone! When i first heard Vanessa babbling about this place, i initially thought it was Bijin Nabe's Beauty Pot.
Turned out it was a new brand altogether brought in by Paradise Group! Steamboat business was thought to have reached saturation point but judging from the popularity of HaoDiLao and Bijin Nabe, it makes complete sense to merge the two together!
According to the Great Kon who had been to the famous "Ding Wang Spicy Hotpot" in Taiwan, service standard at "Beauty in the Pot" was comparable with the signature 90-degree bow every time the service staff served us! I personally find it irritating because i deem it necessary to return the bow; albeit at a less optimal angle and restricted to head movement only.
HaiDiLao has six types of soup base while Beauty in the Pot features only two; most popular of which was the beauty collagen broth that had a similar consistency to the chicken collagen soup at Bijin Nabe!
In the beginning, i was under the impression pork was the main ingredient as the taste was overflowing with meaty flavour similar to the broth in good ramen. I was wrong; main ingredient was shark's cartilage and there wasn't a hint of fishiness in the soup!
Seeing the four glasses of liquid on the table piqued our curiosity; on first look, my first exclamation was that they looked like glasses of semen!! Hahahaha. My bad. The innocent man in me thought it was yakult / vitagen though. Answer: beauty collagen broth to refill the pot.
Our orders - i dislike blogging about steamboat as the taste weighs heavily on two factors; the dip and the diners' grasp of timing. Our easiest route is to leave the food inside the boiling soup for a long period of time to ensure they are fully cooked! Nevertheless, both Kon and Van felt that i might as well do it since i was already there.
Time to make our own dip! Although part and parcel of most steamboat restaurants nowadays (like the buffet style Sukiya), we saw a charge of S$2.50 per person for condiments; not sure if they refer to the self-service dip.
Not sure what to do when faced with such a wide variety? Take note of the recommendations plastered on the wall by the dip station.
The labels could have been clearer and better placed; it didn't help that the station was also at the main entrance leading to the seating area, resulting in a human bottleneck every now and then.
Unlike HaiDiLao, the only hot and cooked item was plain rice. Granted HaiDiLao charged a lot more (S$5 a person if i am not wrong) but there were at least kimchi, fruits and desserts!
Periodic action - to sieve and scoop out the congealed collagen from the top of the broth!
Our portion of beef shortrib, pork belly and pork collar were decent but as i mentioned earlier, the dip would heavily determine the taste.
Not carrots; they were Japanese crab sticks!
There are two things you wouldn't see me ordering for steamboat; noodles and vegetables for the simple reason that i am a carnivore unless i need to lose weight; in the latter case, i would have salad at home.
This scallop paste was surprisingly good; the texture was fishball like yet very much softer. Mum would have loved it. I was contemplating having our reunion dinner at steamboat restaurants although on second thought, my parents would likely complain on the price!
Orders were generally suggested by Kon and Van and the only item i requested for was prawn dumplings. Served frozen, they tasted quite the same as those from CP! I shall refrain from ordering in the future. :(
Beancurd skin in the collagen broth was a definite must-add - just put them in the boiling soup for a few seconds and then proceed to enjoy the still crispy exterior crisp and the soft, soupy insides!
Frozen soft bone pork meatballs - drawing comparison to HaiDiLao again, the higher-priced meat balls i had just two days before "Beauty in the Pot" were all freshly prepared.
Nevertheless, they tasted great once cooked in the collagen with the soft bones adding an addictive bite to the texture. Since i am showing a picture of the dip, my recipe was a spoonful of scallions, a spoonful of peanuts, a teaspoon of sugar and two to three spoonfuls of peanut sauce (in this case, it would be sesame sauce).
It's kind of shocking that we could not finish all the food; to think that we almost wanted to order more as the order list printed for us seemed rather short! Damn, age is catching up!!
There's, however, always room for desserts! My colleague put it most aptly; there's a different stomach for desserts, so keep it coming.
Ours was pomelo ice! Said to get rid of the oil after the meal, it has a fresh and refreshingly sweet zest to it! We must have explicitly shown our delight via our facial expression as the waitress kindly provided us with another full jar! Kudos to the service!
Wiping our mouth would be the last step to conclude a good meal and don't be too quick to complain on the lack of tissue; it was contained in a drawer underneath the table!
11, Tanjong Katong Road,
#02-21, One KM
Receipt as appended below.
Subject to GST and Service Charge
Craving for steamboat after normal operating hours for most restaurants? Beauty in the Pot is opened until 3am on Fridays, Saturdays and eves of PH; to sweeten the deal, there is a 20% off the food bill after 10pm!