The stylish Shuang Shuang may be located in London’s Chinatown, but it’s far from the average Chinese restaurant – it’s the first in the UK to be completely dedicated to the art of the Chinese hotpot. Housed in an elegant Victorian building, with gold hanging lights, and an open-view kitchen surrounded by gleaming white tiles, it offers a choice between the steamy ground floor, amidst all the action, and the cool spacious first floor, with intricate latticework and original artwork. Between the two is a graceful staircase fenced off with long wooden slats.
The essence of Chinese hotpot is the steaming broth, in which you, the customer, cook the other ingredients. At your place, you have in front of you a heated cauldron divided into two sections, so you can choose two of the five delicious broth recipes on offer – fiery Mala, savoury Black Bird, meaty Lamb Tonic, mild Temple Brew and tasty Fish Pond. Meanwhile, a selection of 50 ingredients in little dishes are moving past you on a carousel – anything from mixed mushrooms, bamboo shoots and instant noodles to scallop chunks, pork belly and chicken breast. The idea is that you choose the ingredients and cook them in the broth in your cauldron, using the heat controls.
To add to your enjoyment, there are some very moreish starter snacks, like fried pigs ears, or scallop and prawn fritters. You even get to wear a plastic bib bearing a pig’s face ideogram – but this is not compulsory.
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