Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hai Di Lao Hot Pot 海底捞火锅 @ Clarke Quay

Located at Level 2, Block D of Clarke Quay, this building is actually pretty near the directory board and the bridge. Glance towards the opposite side, one will see Merchant Court Swissotel and Riverside Point.

Block D

To get to Level 2, take the lift. And once the door opens, the staff will greet and then assign the queue ticket to you.

queue ticket machine beside the lift
queue ticket

After which, feel free to roam around Clarke Quay till the staff gives a phone call. Then, head back to Hai Di Lao and wait at its waiting area. Yup, double wait.

waiting for dinner
beer @ 7pm

The phone call came around 8pm and the staff advised us to be back at the shop so that they could assign a table for us. When queried if they could give us a call when a table is genuinely ready, as I explained that we were nearby and could get back in just 2 minutes, there were hem and haws. She couldn't give a straight answer, but just repeated her request for us to be back and to physically wait at the restaurant. Ohhkay...

sour plum
first snack tray @8.15pm

Waited for another half-hour at the shop's waiting area and the answer was the same, "We're preparing the table for you..." Then, the staff suggested for us to order first while waiting. Ohhkay...

2 hours after getting queue ticket, and still no table in sight

after multiple refills of self-serve popcorn, and still waiting @8.50pm

With just a few minutes to 9pm, we were finally led inside to be seated.

wam hand towel

Went to check out the sauces while the staff prepares our orders.

an array of sauces, condiments, fruits and desserts
self-assembled sauce of sesame paste, sesame oil, seafood sauce, korean chili sauce and vinegar @$4++
double flavour hotpot (chicken and mala)

Friend whom suggested the place, did the ordering. Abundance of food! Chicken, lamb, beef, fish, seafood, vegetables, mushrooms and carb. Yup, got almost everything.

pork slices
squid with spinach paste, fish balls, crab balls and fish paste
beef slices and grouper

Needed to wait for the soup to boil, so munched down on fried fish skin as snacks.

fried fish skin

Thirsty, have some liang teh or watermelon juice.

watermelon juice in a jug

The watermelon juice was unsweetened. The sour plum was pretty diluted but my friends quite liked the herbal tea (凉茶).

chicken soup
ladle of soup
chicken soup to soothe the tummy

Staff helped to ladle the unadulterated chicken soup for us to taste. If you had indicated you'd like 葱花香菜,then the bowl of soup shall be heaped aplenty of those. Chicken soup was tasty and homely.

beautiful platter of fatty beef (肥牛) and lamb (right)

One of the orders was a platter of mixed meat; fatty beef and lamb. Pretty hard to differentiate one from the other though which presented a problem as the table had one who don't take beef and another who can't stand the gamey smell of lamb.

The fatty beef is recommended. Tender slices that cooks in seconds. Lamb slices retained its slight gamey taste but its texture was good. Dip it into the spicy broth (麻辣), and it is immediately coated with a lovely fragrance of the peppercorns. Just be careful not to bite into any of those tiny peppers. The tongue tip will be tingly numb!

tender beef slice

Friend requested for the staff to help us mix a bowl of sauces. The bowl came back with dried ingredients and we were advised to add a little bit of the broth into it. Has a peanuty and meaty flavour and goes well with all meats.

more authentically mixed sauce?

The seafood that we had were all fresh. Grouper, pomfret, scallops and prawns were all quite yummy. Realised that grouper can be left simmering in the broth and still taste nice. Yums.


Loved the big juicy sweet scallops! For leafy intakes, we had tang-o 茼蒿 (crown daisy) and chinese cabbage (白菜). Cabbage was good in absorbing the soup, so better to have it in the chicken soup as opposed to boiling it in the oily spicy broth.

red pot makes leafy greens look so delicious

For prawns, the staff will ask if you require it to be deshelled. Lazy us said yes.

fresh looking prawns
cooked just right

Once in a while, the service staff will come by to top up on the soup.


Our tummies were already straining, and we have yet to start on the mushroom platter.

mushroom platter in da pot

Not forgetting, our BYO cakes slices for the birthday girls which was temporarily kept in HDL fridge since 6+pm...

tag for easy retrieval, but they still had some trouble finding the cakes

Could barely eat anymore, but still persisted for the homemade noodles. Main reason was to watch the performance of the 'Noodle Ambassador'. Gimmicky and entertaining.

twirling the noodles
dance completed, noodles ready

The noodles is unlike ramen as it is much broader. More like 板条 (flat noodles). The spicy broth gets super salty towards the end after much boiling, hence the noodles are best cooked in chicken broth.

Till date, am not able to fathom on what exactly is the attraction of this place. Service was good but would one wants to wait 2 hours to dine here? From the crowd that thronged this place, no one seemed to mind.

Spent about $60 per pax for the meal.


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