Restaurant review: The Drunken Pot in Tsim Sha Tsui – hotpot with a buzz
The wait to secure a reservation here was well worth it, as was the opportunity to mix our own sauce from the impressive array of ingredients provided
It’s hard to remember a hotpot restaurant having such a buzz as when The Drunken Pot opened a few months ago. It took several attempts before we were able to get a table, although the cold weather probably had a lot to do with it. The interesting interior decor was kitschy.
The anticipation had a lot to do with the HK$328 signature pot that had five soup bases in a special container, including one with a whole papaya, and another with squid ink. We went for a more conventional pot with just two soups: drunken chicken with hua diao Chinese wine (HK$128) and Sichuan-style numbingly spicy (HK$98). We liked both, and were impressed that the chicken soup actually came with half of a raw chicken (cut into pieces) to dip into the broth, while the spicy version contained fried bean curd, bean sprouts and pig skin.
The first task of the night, after ordering, was mixing our own sauce from an impressive array of ingredients that came attractively presented. These included six sauces (such as XO, fermented bean curd, and chilli bean sauce) and six fresh ingredients (raw and fried garlic, chillies, peanuts and spring onions).
We ignored the cooked dishes, as we wanted to concentrate on the hotpot. The list of ingredients was extensive and included a lot of fresh seafood at market price.
Deep-fried garlic fish crackling (HK$48) was crisp and needed only a quick dip into the bubbling broth (it went especially well with the spicy version). Even better was the deep-fried home-made bean curd and seaweed rolls (HK$58) which were puffy and delicate.
We tried two of the signature meatballs – cuttlefish (HK$68) and dace (HK$68). They were soft and smooth, with less of a bouncy texture than found in commercial versions. Bovine bone marrow (HK$58) and goose intestines (HK$68) satisfied the innards lovers at the table; the bone marrow – which isn’t often offered at hotpot restaurants – was especially good.
The hand-cut local beef (HK$238) wasn’t that tender, but it had a deep flavour. To finish, we cooked the inaniwa udon (HK32), asparagus lettuce (also known as celtuce, HK$28) and white radish (HK$28) in the chicken broth, which had intensified in flavour from all the other ingredients we simmered in it – a delicious and soothing end to the meal.
The Drunken Pot, 2/F, 8 Observatory Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2321 9038. About HK$310 without drinks or the service charge