350 Highway 7 East, Unit 105
Richmond Hill, Ontario
(Major Intersection: Valleymede Dr. & Hwy 7)
For mother's day this year, we decided to go have all you can eat hot pot for dinner. Unconventional yes, but for whatever reason my family just has a soft spot for hot pot! This was the first time I've been to this place, and was pleasantly surprised right when I walked in. Usually when I think AYCE hot pot, I picture a really unorganized, crowded, and busy restaurant with poor quality food and sticky table tops. But this was nothing like what I listed. The place was very spacious and clean. We were all very comfortably seated, and there was ample space on the table for all the plates that would come.
The lighting was slightly dim, and matched well with the elegant decor. I also really appreciated the air conditioning which was much needed to counter the many boiling pots of water.
Of course the most important thing, is that the food impressed me too!
Left: Oysters, Right: Beef
We opted to go for the seafood add-on, and it came with a platter of seafood and lobsters. The lobsters were so fresh, that they were still moving! Actually, I found everything in general was fairly fresh. The two cone shaped bags on the platter are filled with fish paste, and you squirt it into the water to make your own fish noodles! Kind of interesting. The noodles resembled udon but with a more "bouncy" in texture.
Dumplings and Wontons
The wontons and dumplings were probably homemade, as a lot of them fell apart while cooking. However, the ones that didn't tasted quite good.
Left: Black bean spare rib rice, Right: Preserved meat rice
I know these dishes don't look too impressive, and some what "lacking", but they actually tasted alright. (Well, the preserved meat one at least. I didn't have enough stomach room to try the other one). I think I would've enjoyed it more if the meat was cut up into smaller pieces, but the flavour of the meat still managed to transfer to the rice really well. Looks were deceiving with this one.
Left: Fish paste, Right: Jumble of different things
Left: cow tongue, Right: Hot pot beef
I think I myself ate half the beef that we ordered. It was nicely marbled with fat, and was so tasty! I also enjoyed the cow tongue. It was already pre-cooked and was marinated really well.
Deep fried fish skin
This dish was a pleasant surprise as it's not something you regularly see at hot pot places. It was good on its own and even better when dipped it into the soup that's been boiling with all different goodies for the duration of the dinner.
Left: Mango Pudding, Right: Turtle herbal jelly (Gui Ling Gao)I normally really like the turtle herbal jelly, but this one was very very bitter. I couldn't handle more than 3 or 4 spoons of it. Stick with the mango jelly if you don't fare well with the bitterness.
While I find this place is a bit more expensive than most other hotpot places, I actually quite enjoyed this meal. The cooked food wasn't the best, but the raw ingredients for cooking were all generally very fresh and above average standards. I guess since the weather's getting warmer, hotpot will be a less popular option. But make sure you try this place out in half a year's time if you're craving hotpot!