Whenever the BFF and I feel like bingeing, it’s either Korean BBQ or steamboat, or preferably a place that offers both. Anyway, the craving last week was for steamboat and, as we have another friend joining us, we decided to try out the popular Beauty in the Pot (BITP) outlet at The Centrepoint.
We had to book our weekday 7pm slot via phone as online reservations only offer slots up to 6pm. Very odd considering that the hotpot restaurant is open up to 6am daily. And even though we were there way before time, we still have to wait for some time as “our” table is yet to be ready. Still, staff was polite and each apologised profusely till we were led to the table. Anyway, you can spend the time ordering your soups and items first while waiting.
Taking over the site where the former famous Centrepoint Teochew restaurant once was, the by Paradise Group restaurant occupies a big area, with three private rooms and even a play area for kids.
Menu-wise, BITP offers all the necessary raw and cooked ingredients one would want for a steamboat – over 100 items comprising meats, seafood, vegetables, etc. Their unique offering is that the soup pot can be served in quart pot so that you can have a choice of four soup bases at one go. These include their signature Beauty Collagen Broth, as well as Pork Bone Soup, Herbal Drunken Chicken, Longevity Wild Pine Mushroom, Spicy Nourishing Soup and Vitamin C Tomato Sweet Corn.
We opted for the Beauty Collagen Broth (the thick and creamy one above), and played safe with the Herbal Drunken Chicken which was really fragrant, as it was chock-ful of various herbs and big chunks of chicken. Cool thing is they have jars of extra soup by the side of the table for you to replenish yourself when needed.
Items-wise we had the usual suspects – pork belly, Wagyu beef, Ebiko prawn paste, assorted balls platter, drunken prawns, fried fish skin, etc. One thing that was noticeable right away is that the quality of meats were really good, so if people found the place pricey, that’s the premium they are paying for.
We were more conservative when it came to veggie items this time round as we over-ordered the last time we were at J-Pot. (Even for the smallest portion, the offering is over generous each time, we discovered.) So we just had the usual favorites like lettuce, spinach, mushrooms (which came free with OCBC card payment), and the must-have fried beancurd skin (above) which I have to say tasted amazingly good when dipped into the Beauty Collagen broth.
Now, other than that the signature broths are unique, the only thing I could tell you about the broths is that they were flavorful, cooked items well, and tasted great in my rice. We were way too hungry to test out which meat or veggie cooked better in which broth – we just want them to be cooked as fast as possible! (You go try and tell me…)
And of course, having a good chili sauce base for everything is a must and at BITP, they even have a “Sauces Poster” on the wall if you – like a bunch of ladies blocking my path – couldn’t make up their minds what sauces or condiments to take. Fruits are complimentary as well and you can take as much as you want.
The only complaint we have, besides not getting the table on time – though can’t really be blamed considering the style of dining that is steamboat – is that the roll-out of dishes ordered was rather slow. The place was packed yes but you can also see the waiters / waitresses looking rather flustered with the number of orders flying around. Our items for example came one dish at a time, and after a while, we have to wave for the rest of our items.
Earlier reviews mentioned that the servers actually have a tradition of bowing. That was nowhere to be seen bar from one manageress but really we can live without that as long as we get our orders faster. Or at least remember them. For instance, as one friend has eaten at BITP before, she had to request for the Yuzu drink that is usually served at the end of the meal.
To be fair, almost everyone had a smile on their face and were very apologetic each time, but many also looked rather confused at most times. Fun bit was watching a bunch of them methodically gathered whenever there is a birthday customer to be celebrated with 3 BITP balloons and “Happy Birthday” sang in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. There were as many birthdays on our night as there is on a regular night at Hard Rock Cafe…
At the end, the three of us ended up paying $55 each, which is actually quite decent considering the amount of food we ordered and the fact many people online said BITP was pricey. Well, despite minor shortcomings, it’s a decent hotpot really and certainly a place where we foresee many future visits. Definitely fun for big groups who would be game to try out four soup bases.
Beauty in the Pot is at The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road #05-15/16. Tel: +65 6235 3557. Opening Hours: 11.30am-6.00am daily.