BEAUTY IN THE POT
11 Tanjong Katong Road, 02-21 OneKM, tel: 6702-2542
Open: 11am to 3pm, 5.30pm to 1am (Monday to Thursday), 11 to 3am (Friday, Saturday and eve of public holiday), 11 to 1am (Sunday and public holiday)
Food: 3.5 stars
Service: 3 stars
Ambience: 3 stars
Price: Budget $40 to $50 a person
Beauty In The Pot may be a strange name for a restaurant but that is not going to put off Singaporean diners.
The two-month-old hotpot eatery in OneKM Mall was practically empty when I dined there in November and last month. But when I returned last Sunday, it was packed.
That is because this is one of the best mid-priced hotpots.
The beauty secret lies in the stock, a milky broth made from shark's cartilage that the restaurant calls Beauty Collagen Broth ($20 a pot).
It is simmered with mild Chinese herbs as well as shimeji mushrooms, and is so tasty right from the start that you can drink it before cooking anything in it. But it gets even better at the end, after you cook meat and vegetables in it. I end up drinking bowls of it.
The restaurant offers only one other stock base, a Spicy Nourishing Broth ($20 a pot) made with pork bones and Chinese herbs as well as Sichuan chilli oil.
There are three levels of spiciness to choose from, but unless you are a chilli coward - in which case, you should stick with the Beauty Collagen Broth - get the highest level. Only that has the intoxicating aroma of spices and kick to make an impact.
If you want to try both, get the Twin Flavours Broth. The two broths come in one pot separated by a divider, but cost more at $25.
The broths aside, the ingredients are typical selections offered by mid-priced hotpot eateries here: beef, pork and chicken, seafood such as red garoupa and pomfret, freshly made balls, vegetables and noodles.
But there are also some surprises. If you like innards, items such as beef tripe (from $7), pig's kidney (from $6) and intestines (from $4) will interest you. Tripe and intestines especially go well with the spicy broth.
Besides the balls, there is also a selection of homemade paste, such as Century Egg Fish Paste ($10), Dried Scallops Fish Paste ($12) and Ebiko Prawn Paste ($12). They are pretty good, but you have to do the work of breaking them into smaller balls yourself. Make them too small and you lose the bouncy texture of the paste. When they are too big, they do not go very far if you are sharing them.
So I prefer the balls, which have good texture. They are not the best I've eaten, but they taste fresh and compare well with those at other mid-priced hotpot eateries.
A combination platter of four types - including Soft Bone Pork Meat Ball (from $4), Beef Ball (from $5) and Mushroom Ball (from $5) - costs $10.
Dumplings are a mixed bag. I like the Prawn Dumpling (from $5), which is stuffed with fresh, crunchy prawns, but I find the skin for the Pork Roll Dumpling (from $3) too thick.
The meats are decent, but not outstanding. Ironically, I prefer the cheaper Sliced Pork Collar (from $5) to the more expensive US Kurobuta Pork (from $9) for its more crunchy texture.
One item I never miss out is the Fried Beancurd Skin (from $3).
The crispy rolls soak up the stock quickly and get really tasty. If you want them still a little crisp, fish them out of the broth after three or four seconds. Leave them to soak longer if you want them limp.
What I like about Beauty In The Pot is that most orders come in two sizes, with a half-size portion that is good for two persons.
Other nice touches include a free flow of white rice and a complimentary yuzu sorbet at the end of the meal to freshen up the palate. And the fact that you won't burn a big hole in the pocket.
Follow Wong Ah Yoke on Twitter @STahyoke
SundayLife! paid for its meals at the eateries reviewed here.
Fried Beancurd Skin (from $3)
The crispy rolls pick up the flavours in the stock really well. And you can eat them in just three seconds.
This article was first published on Jan 25, 2015.
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