TASTE: 3/5 SERVICE: 4/5 ATMOSPHERE & DECOR: 3/5
FOODBITES SAYS: “Fresh Fresh Fresh Hot Pot ingredients are best delivered by conveyor!”
WHERE: 64 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6LU
AVERAGE PRICE: ~£15-20 pp (including drink)
RECOMMEND: The Market Set & Flowering Tea
As the Summertime rain of mid-July poured down around us, and with our first choice restaurant for a late lunch out of our reach (this time!), we looked across the grey streets for a backup. With tummies grumbling and our eyes hungry for something new, we found Shaung Shaung.
Or new-ish. Opening up a year ago, situated on the ground floor on the corner of Chinatown, we saw cute puffs of steam floating up from small metal pots. This high ceiling diner was a sight to behold even if you were just passing through, and particularly on a chilly and wet London day!
Traditionally, Hot Pot is a meal where lots of people gather round a table and cook food together from a communal pot filled with simmering delicious broth. Once the meal with your friends & family has almost concluded, the noodles are then bought out. Fresh or dried whichever the chosen noodles are then cooked to perfection in the then full-flavoured broth, soaking up all that umami flavour made up of the juices from ingredients that were previously cooked!
Shuang Shuang have turn this around slightly, making this sharing meal into a more lonesome affair.. Well, not entirely so! For those of us who dislike sharing and particularly those ‘double-dipper’s, (you know who you are!) Shuang Shuang have given one solution. Not only have they bought back the quirky conveyor-belt-restaurant scene, they have also given diners the luxury of individual hot pots so that we may enjoy eating wholesome delicious hot pot and small dishes of fresh ingredients without excess – we’re all watching our summer bodies, waistlines & Fitbits (aren’t we?)!
WHAT WE HAD:
- Temple Brew – Soup base
- Black Bird – Soup base
- House sauce
- Sweet & Sour sauce
- Mixed Mushrooms
- Vegetable Mix – Lotus Root, Butternut Squash, Radish
- Bamboo Shoots
- House Prawn Ball
- Pork Belly
- Marinated Beef Rump
- Marinated Pork
- Flowering Tea
- Honey Ice Tea
With all that fresh food on a seemingly endless conveyor, its easy to grab a plate or three before you realise you have yet to pay and the tower of plates beside you is growing faster than those big eyes! However a £10.50 set menu is on offer! This then makes Shuang Shuang on the shortlist as one of the places to go on a budget! We love the variety of food on offer and don’t be fooled by the ‘cheap’ price tag of the set menu, this place does serve quality fresh food on a cute conveyor that encircles the diners, and you can easily get carried away racking up the bill.
If you’re an omnivore with a respectful carnivorous side, you’ll appreciate like we do that Shuang Shuang also respect the meat they serve. As they state in their menu;
“We are committed to using all free-range meat, and wherever possible we buy British. Only our chicken makes the hop across from France.”
[Above shows the flowering tea on offer at Shuang Shuang, free hot water water refills, recommended!]
Shuang Shuang pricing works on first choosing a soup base (with free refills, and if choosing the set menu, it starts at £10.50 including a dipping sauce to enjoy your boiled nibble). Your final bill then depends on which and the number of coloured plates you pick off the conveyor. The prices of the different coloured plates are all indexed in a clearly laid-out small menu, and usefully the menu also depicts the different plates on offer. So if an interesting looking plate moves towards you, a quick check in the menu will give more information, not only what the plate contains and how much it’ll cost, but also a recommended cook time in your individual hot pot!
Of the two broths we chose, we’d recommend the Black Bird broth again, hands down. Being the more flavoursome of the two we tried, the Temple broth just foamed up due to the soy milk component and was on the milder side of taste – bland. However we couldn’t try out the other two broths. Unfortunately, we missed out on the spicier versions, but just another reason to return!
The house prawn balls were a lovely surprise. Served on a false bamboo stick, we gently scooped out the blend into the boiling broths and after a few minutes the result was a wonderfully soft bouncy prawn ball. Juicy and flavoursome, even if it was left bobbing in the bubbling pot until the very end of the meal – yummy!
The selection of Hot Pot ingredients offered by Shuang Shuang did not disappoint. On the contrary! Not only did they offer a good selection of fresh food, they even offered Wagyu! We kid you not. It had a reminiscence of a small diner in foodie heaven. Not only were there cheap, good quality eats to be had, but also a choice of a higher quality meat. We didn’t try it though. Now, we love our Wagyu, we just don’t see it in Hot Pot. (If you gave it a try, please comment below, we’d love to hear your thoughts!)
Besides meat and a wonderful selection of veggies, the conveyer also offered a comprehensive selection of noodles – udon, ramen, flat rice noodles, yam noodles, bean thread noodles, endless! Also if you’re truly embracing your Asian side, rice is also available upon request!
As seasoned home cooks, Hot Pot is an extremely versatile meal we love to enjoy at home. As long as you’ve got a pot, a few ingredients and water, you are pretty much all set for a simple Hot Pot meal at home! So when we first saw Shuang Shuang, we weren’t exactly jumping for joy. Besides the quirky conveyor belt of small plates, this restaurant didn’t excite us, however as fate would have it, we found our ourselves perching at a table. We enjoyed the moving plates of food, the sounds of the bubbling broth and even the tea! Pleasantly surprised indeed!
Our only niggling complaint, with all things considered, is, although a small complaint, still something, for some reason, remains in mind.. With all the plates of ingredients on offer, for the selection of broths to choose and dipping sauce to add, Shuang Shuang also offer complimentary garnishes! This includes, spring onion, parsley, chilli, and more! As great at that sounds, for some reason we were quite disappointed with what came out.
We LOVE our garnishes! Complimentary spring onion? Lovely! Or was it…? On a tiny dipping sauce plate arrived some roughly chopped, (very roughly), barely a tablespoons worth of chopped green onion. Now, don’t get us wrong, it IS complimentary, upon request, and there doesn’t seem to be a limit to how many times you can order it. We can only assume that the quantity served is to reduce food waste, which is great. BUT for foodies like us, that amount and the quality of the way it was served, (at varying ±1 cm length cuts- massive!), it just didn’t sit right with us.. For future reference, if anyone from Shaung Shaung reads this, if you can change anything, please consider finely chopping your spring onions – trust us!
Did I mention service was excellent? Attentive wait staff while scurrying around collecting plate covers and used dinner sets, they also watched for refilling your pot with more broth and also if you choose a tea, they would happily refill! If anyone knows about service in London, to experience service anywhere without having to witness a scowl is just magical in itself,and Shuang Shuang can pat itself on the back! For a busy-ish Saturday evening service, we have no complaints! Congratulations!
Let us know if you tried Shuang Shuang and what you ordered and what you wish you hadn’t ordered, we’d love to hear your thoughts! Sharing is caring.
Know a place we should visit? – Drop us a comment below or message us, we’d love hear from you, near or far we’d do it for food.