Hai Di Lao 海底捞
Hai Di Lao has been highly revered as one of the best spots for steamboat / hotpot for a couple of years and with its perpetual queue outside the restaurant, it has unsurprisingly crawled effortlessly into the Singapore Guidebook. And by now, most should be familiar that this restaurant hails from China. From making a booking to getting down to the restaurant and having your meal there, you would find that service is pretty much tip-top and there technically isn’t any queue as everyone is seated with a tray of refreshments while waiting.
Alright, E and I got the combination of Laksa and herbal Chicken Soup bases which was quite phenomenal I felt. Laksa was straightforward as I do not take mala and this is something that is peculiar to the branches in Singapore. The soup base was thick and fragrantly spiced while the chicken one was slowly boiled with black chicken which makes it look even more herbal!
And I loved this luscious plate of Mushrooms. Packed with a huge variety, they indeed help to enhance the flavour of the soup, making it even more herbal! The springy textures of the shrooms were also spot on. $18.
The funniest part of this dining experience I guess was the assorted balls that we ordered! Freshly made from the kitchen, the waitress would help you mould them into cute little balls before dumping into the pot. While all of them had perfect consistencies, the green one proved memorable to me as it is made from the favourite squid mashed with spinach. $22.
On top of these more interesting dishes (at least to me), we’ve also got the chewy rice cake ($6), lou min ($4), crispy cabbage ($4) and soft silky tofu ($6). Though I am not a big fan of hotpot as everything seems to taste similar after a while, it was an enjoyable steamboat experience at Hai Di Lao as they managed to nail the service and quality of food. The variety and freshness of ingredients available was the intriguing and assuring bit I felt. Paid a total of $150 for two which is slightly costly. Maybe we’ve ordered too much (again)!
Verdict: A good restaurant