Steamboat came to Sydney years ago. I remember it from pre-critic days; mostly as a bland tureen of soup, so large it generally remained the domain of group dining. Later oily, chilli-rich hot pots popped up in Sichuan spots about town; but it was this uber-hip Sydney newcomer that pushed me to finally start ordering them! Economic prosperity has seen individual hot pots grow popular in China for a while, but it took young restaurateur Jiang Jiang and Executive Chef Jason Wong to finally bring them here. Induction elements (better control) replace burners; soup bases have become flavoursome; raw ingredients higher calibre – but the real highlight is the opportunity to become a Chinese master saucier using their huge Buddha-topped collection of post-pot dipping condiments! Whilst my dining companion gleefully sweated over a Spicy Soup Pot ($6) he dubbed “hell broth”*, my Chinese Herbal Soup ($8) was more like a fragrant (plum and goji berry) rendition of Mum’s chicken soup. Both sang with freshly cut Premium Lamb ($9), New Zealand Green-Lip Mussels ($8) and Assorted Mushrooms ($12). You definitely need wah – my favourite was the squeezable piping bag of Cuttlefish Noodle ($16) that puffed up in my pot! *“Hell broth” also required Tsingtao Beer ($7) and a visit to the neighbouring N2 Extreme Gelato.
Trades Hall, 4-10 Goulburn Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 8355 3188 www.ipotsydney.com.au