There is a juvenile excitement about picking your lunch of a conveyer belt. It is a formula Yo Sushi has thrived off for many years and now Shuang Shuang has successfully introduced a restaurant with the same concept, offering comforting and flavoursome hotpots to be personalised by the diner.
The eatery has a prime position on Shaftesbury Avenue, but amazingly is filled with local Londoners as well as hungry tourists. We sat at the pristine white counter, ready to sample the Lobster hotpot, a decadent option they have started offering for just £19 for two people. First a steaming fragrant broth was poured into our own boiling pot which can be heat adjusted as required. Before long a beautiful lobster arrived on ice, along with glasses of Crement (a light sparkling French wine), and a few tasters of their snack list. Scallop and Prawn Fritters with Mala Oil were the obvious winner, mouthful sized crispy seafood bites. I also liked the salty and spicy Pig’s Ears with Xinjiang Spice.
The next part was great fun, picking ingredients from the ‘carousel of flavours’ whizzing round in front of us. There is a huge variety of meat, fish, vegetables, tofu and noodles to choose from. I grabbed a selection of tasty looking plates, including pak choi, mixed root vegetables, some lovely thick noodles and slices of chicken breast. Guests must be careful they cook each ingredient for the right amount of time, it is easy to get carried away delving into the pot, forgetting about recent ingredient additions. The lobster was soft and creamy perfectly suited to the vibrant Tom Yum broth with hints of lemongrass and lime.
An assortment of tools are provided to help you cook and eat your food more easily. Despite this we still managed to make quite a mess! After such a dramatic and exciting main course I didn’t need dessert, but the Soy Milk Ice Cream with Candied Ginger was a simple and subtle pudding which cleansed our palates after the flavoursome and spicy hotpot.
Shuang Shuang offers an interactive and tasty way to experience Chinese hotpot. I thought it might be a bit of a tricky concept for kids but the neighbouring family proved me wrong, as I overheard the little girls proclaim, “this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten”. You can’t get a better compliment than that. shu
More information on Shuang Shuang here: www.shuangshuang.co.uk