Beauty In The Pot @ VivoCity

Another hotpot alternative close to the ‘hood.

To celebrate her name day, my hitting-a-milestone pal opted for a hotpot dinner. As Beauty in the Pot has a new outlet at VivoCity, we decided to give that a try, having enjoyed their first outlet at Centrepoint. Knowing how popular hotpot is in Singapore, I made the table reservation two weeks ahead via phone and was relatively amused when asked what occasion were we celebrating. “Birthday,” I replied without hesitation and didn’t give it much thought thereafter (more on that below).

As the table will only be held for 10 minutes, we arrived rather early for our weekend booking only to be told that we still have to wait till our reserved time. Which was fine as there were seats and free water available. (If you have kids, there’s a playpen for them.) Not to mention that the overly-pink restaurant is also located directly opposite the largest public library in a mall, library@harbourfront.

Beauty in the Pot’s key attractions are of course its signature Beauty Collagen Broth, and that you can have up to four (out of six) soup bases at one go. We decided two soup bases will do and went for the rich, flavorful collagen broth ($15/twin pot) and the Herbal Drunken Chicken Broth ($12/twin pot).

Then it was off to prepare our sauces whilst waiting for our food items to arrive. For my usual red chilli, garlic and spring onion combo, I added a creamy peanut sauce plus a dash of soy sauce which was a really good mix. Another nut-based combo with Thai red chilli and chilli oil wasn’t half bad but didn’t have much kick.

The menu has an extensive meat selection comprising chicken, pork, beef, lamb, and seafood (fish, crab, octopus, etc). On this occasion, we decided to stick to just Sliced U.S. Beef ($19.80/full portion) and Live Drunken Tiger Prawns ($13/half). And have to say, the premium quality of Beauty in the Pot’s food items are still as good as before.

Veggie wise we went with the usual suspects except with a different variety. Instead of plain lettuce, we had Baby Romaine Lettuce ($3.70/half); instead of “big” spinach, we had Baby Chinese Spinach ($3.70/half). Sliced Lotus Shoot ($3.40/half) was as it is…

We also had White and Hon Shimeji ($4.50/half), which on hindsight was unnecessary as there was actually a good helping of these mushrooms, and tofu slices too, in the collagen broth. The crispy and tasty Fried Fish Skin ($5.90/half) though is always good as a snack or appetizer.

A good choice was the Teochew Style Fish Balls ($4.90/half), which were really yummy. The Prawn Dumpling ($7.50/half) though wasn’t as great; the wrapping was very sticky and the taste not as scrumptious as we hoped it would be. No faulting the Silken Tofu ($2/half) though but as mentioned, the collagen broth also contained tofu slices.

Oh, one item that is a must-have is the Fried Beancurd Skin ($5/half), which tastes especially good when dipped into the collagen broth. It can be very filling though, so best to eat it early in the meal rather at the tail end.

We were getting really stuffed when a staff asked if we would like more dishes. It was then we realised we’d forgotten about our drunken prawns which were hidden away in the side trolley. Fret not, said the nice chap, who simply proceeded to peel for us the prawns which was fresh and sweet.

It was when we were having fruits for dessert, that the fun bit came. Just like at Hard Rock Cafe, Beauty in the Pot diners celebrating birthdays get cool perks. Not only you get a cake and balloon, the staff—like these two sweet suds here— would sing “Happy Birthday” to you three times – in English, Mandarin and Cantonese!!

That my very shy friend—seen here heavily filtered with her complimentary cake and balloon—was utterly surprised was an understatement. That it was one of the most funniest moments I’ve ever observed is of no doubt, hahaha!

Lastly, the complimentary Yuzu drink was served at the end and that went really well with our cake [as they have already stopped re-filling our Luo Han Guo / Sour Plum Juice ($3.80/glass) once they cleared the table].

Well, our Beauty in the Pot experience at VivoCity was certainly better than our first one at Centrepoint. Service was certainly better – we were led to our table at the appointed time, items came fast, refilling of the soups and drinks was done without our asking, and every staff member was courteous and attentive. Only one or two still bow at almost 90 degrees but though admirable, it is seriously not required.

I didn’t even have to prompt about the birthday bit – it was noted via the phone reservation and they delivered without the need to double check. Kudos indeed. Also, though it is stated in the reservation that small groups have a 90-minute time limit, at no time were we asked to finish up though we stayed about two hours. (Guess it also depend on how busy the place is.)

The bill was about $140, i.e $70 per person, which was decent considering what we ordered and the quality of the ingredients. Except for the far walk to the restrooms (down the escalator and to the right, due to the structure of the mall – it’s the same for the rooftop Haidilao), it’s definitely good to know there’s another reputable hotpot restaurant near our ‘hood to consider whenever we have steamboat cravings. In fact, Beauty in the Pot has just opened another outlet at The Star Vista, even closer still. Have to check that one out soon!

Beauty in the Pot is at 1 Harbourfront Walk, VivoCity #03-08A, Singapore 098585. Tel: +65 6255 0758. Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am to 3.00am (Last order at 2.15am).

Beauty In The Pot @ The Centrepoint

2017-11-09 19.37.05 (640x640)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.

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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.

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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.

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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…)

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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.

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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.

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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.