Every time we take an interstate trip Iron Fist always asks that we try some traditional Chinese cuisine, Time and time again I have declined this request quoting that I can always have Chinese food at home every day when I’m back in Brisbane. However this time I have decided to indulge his request and so we headed off to iPot to try some traditional Chinese hotpot. Situated in Chinatown I made sure to make a reservation before hand as I heard it was quite busy however when I did arrive it wasn’t rather being only at half capacity.
After being seated we were just brought out some menus. Unlike my usual preference for hotpot buffet this one was served on a la Carte. We had to pick our dishes and it was brought to us in fixed quantities.
After ordering we busied at our self with the sauce bar which is a highlight that quite a few reviewers had mentioned. We were each given a bowl for us to pick and choose from the large selection of sauces available including oil based water-based and more creamy paste like sauces in addition to herbs and other condiments.
Here’s a picture of the finished products.
My usual go to combination includes a soy sauce base with copious amounts of chopped garlic, shallot and sesame oil making a very standard Cantonese setup that hardly ever goes wrong.
Iron fist went with a very unusual combination consisting of sesame paste, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil with some garlic mixed in. After tasting and he decided that he didn’t like it too much and start again from scratch.
His second attempt was far more conservative with a soy base, sesame oil and shallots which was much better received.
Before long our choice of Cantonese soup soon came to our table and was placed upon the electric induction stoves. The soup was a mild pork broth with corn, goji berries and shiitake mushrooms as well as century egg.
The rest of our food came quickly after. One of my major criticisms with ordering à la Carte was the fixed portions. We were unable to have any control over the serving sizes that we want, which resulted in us having not enough meat but exorbitant amounts of vegetables and sides.
Firstly we had the Queensland beef which was a little ironic as we had come down to New South Wales to sample Queensland beef. The quality really wasn’t that impressive as you can see there was copious amounts of fat and not too much meat. I really don’t think it was worth the price. Next I also had the tofu puff. As you can see the portion was really quite large when all I wanted was a couple of pieces. I invest also tried some and he said that it reminded him of pieces of bread which was quite an unusual reference for me. Nevertheless I did like the quality of the tofu puff, with its well textured interior and chewy skin. It soaked up the broth really well. We also had a selection of the home-made pork meatballs. I found this portion size far more agreeable than the other dishes. Each ball was freshly rolled and minced in house. It was quite well seasoned and once cooked the meat was quite tender, I quite enjoyed it.
In terms of veggies I had the combination mushroom platter. It contained black fungus, shiitake mushroom, enoki mushroom, and some oyster mushrooms.
The mushrooms were fairly fresh and had a good bite to them, they soaked well in the light broth and made for quite a hearty dinner. Again the portions were quite large. We also had a single serve of the oyster mushroom. This was just as fresh but I was far more happier with the serving size.
In addition to the mushrooms, iron fist also ordered two more veggie dishes. Here we have bamboo shoots and spinach. The bowl of bamboo shoots was exceptionally large and we were barely able to finish half which was a shame. The spinach though although coming in the same size of bowl, reduced quite significantly once cooked, as everyone would expect, so he was able to easily finish it.
To round off our meal we both ordered noodles. I stuck with my usual side of udon was he had a bowl of home-made noodles. Both dishes were also quite large and significantly more than a normal single person serve which again resulted in considerable leftovers. My udon was quite tender and well cooked, I particularly like that it was the fresh version rather than the present version. His bowl he said it was home-made tasted rather large ones that we can get at normal grocery stores, needless to say he was a little disappointed. In conclusion I have to say that my experience that iPot was somewhat mixed. The pork balls were really well executed but everything else was somewhat lacking. I was also quite disappointed to be charged for an extra dish of dumplings at the end despite not receiving them. Perhaps this venue would be better suited to large group outings.
Price Range: $40 - $60pp