Abundant with options for Hot Pot, I am often asked where the best places are and frequently I am caught reminiscing about my favourite store back in New Farm, 100 Degrees which struck the best quality for value. Grief stricken by their closure a few years back, it has been very hard for me to find something remotely similar. From the depths of my despair sprung hope just last weekend when I received an email from the owners, telling me that they had set up a new store, this time in Toowong by the name of No. 58 Little Hot Pot. Of course we decided to check it out immediately.
Even from outside the store we were able to smell the fragrant soup broth. Making our way inside, the store was definitely larger than their old lodgings in New Farm. With a far more modern feel, and the always photogenic exposed brick wall, we liked the upgrade.
For $35.80pp, you can pick a soup base and have two hours of unlimited buffet. For an extra $3, you can have two soup bases. I liked the variety of soup bases and how you could mix and match depending on what you liked (as well as your spice tolerance).
Taking a quick walk around, they had a fairly large variety of sauces and toppings available. All elements of my favourite sauce combination were available, and Adam managed to upgrade his peanut sesame concoction with some ground cumin. Having been to quite a few hot pot and malatang places now, hygiene is really important and a sticky sauce station is often off putting for me, I was really glad that they were fresh and clean here.
In the first fridge, there was a large assortment of veggies, seafood and noodles. For the price point, the availability of scallops, prawns, mussels and fish were really good value. I also liked the variety of offal they had.
Second fridge comprised of meat and meat balls. The sliced meats encompassed all varieties of protein you could want, chicken, pork, beef and lamb, all thinly sliced but on the fattier side.
Like their old store, there was also a good selection of cooked foods including fried rice, noodles and other delectable goodies like deep fried man tou.
Canned drinks, juices and teas were also available as were ice creams for dessert.
After our lap around, we came back to our table and noted the soups were already set up for us.
Always one for spicy, Adam went for the Hot and Spicy signature soup and the sweet Satay. He said that the spicy soup wasn't overly spicy, and the owner said that the spice level was customisable upon request, which was always great to know.
Always choosing the lighter option, I had the Special Soup, which was lightly herbal with red dates, goji and garlic along with the Mushroom Soup with the wafting flavours of mixed enoki and shiitake. I always enjoy the lighter soups as it best highlights the individual ingredient tastes.
First round and our table was soon loaded with delicious ingredients.
From our meat and seafood dish, we had a large portion of beef slices, these were fresh and tender but again a bit on the fatty side. We had some scallops which we cooked in the shell, they had a nice firm texture. Prawns were available and also had a good firm texture. Both the crab sticks and fish were soft and tender, absorbing the broth well. I particularly liked how flaky the fish fillets were.
Our non meat platter had some mushrooms which were also fresh and delicious. They went really well with my mushroom soup. We also had some quail eggs and a large assortment of tofu. We had tofu puff, which soaked up the soup like a sponge along with the tasty porous frozen tofu as well as the silky smooth fresh tofu. Trying out something new, we also had some tofu noodles which had a nice texture to them.
Our round two comprised of more meat, this time it was less fatty than the last round, some fresh baby bok choy, spicy marinated beef and half a piece of udon. Again the meat was great, we liked the fresh veggies which also complemented the soup well, and the spicy marinated beef was definitely flavoursome and less fatty.
Bubbling away, we had a wonderful date night.
Not particularly in the mood for ice cream, Adam went and fixed himself up some deep fried buns and topped it off with condensed milk. Trying some myself, the bun was crisp outside and fluffy inside, it was a great way to finish off a delicious meal, and we will definitely be back soon.
Espresso and Matcha were invited guests of No 58 Little Hot Pot, but as always, our opinions are solely our own.