There seems to be an endless number of Hot Pots in Hangzhou, and it’s hard to know which ones are good or bad, but luckily, there are a few which are always a safe bet, with good quality, good service, and a good bit of fun, and CouCou is a new one to add to that list. Unlike other places in the city, it can’t quite so easily be categorised as a certain type of Hot Pot. Instead it’s a fusion restaurant, combining the styles of various regions across China, including Taiwan, were the brand hails from, as well as a few western influences.
One of those western influences plays a key role in the Fresh Mushroom Hot Pot (From 69RMB 珍鲜菌菇鸳鸯锅), one of the two bases we chose as part of the split pot, though it can also be ordered on its own. It was a first for us, a base that we couldn’t help ourselves from drinking alone as a soup, with it’s lovely fragrant aromas, it’s closer to a well prepared French mushroom soup than anything else. The other base we chose was the Spicy Hot Pot Sichuan Style (From 69RMB 老四川麻辣鸳鸯锅), a base with more of a kick to it, and not for those who cannot handle their spicy food.
Asides from the unique recipes of the pots, which in the end give most of the flavour, they had a few more surprises which we hadn’t come across before. The first of those, and in keeping with the western fusion theme, were the Macaroons (49RMB 缤纷马卡龙), a platter of six soft colourful macaroon like cakes, each with a different flavour and colour; they also didn’t tell us what those flavours were, so it was a bit of a hit and miss. The other surprise dish for us, was the Volador Fish Roe Cuttlefish Paste (49RMB 飞鱼籽墨鱼滑), a large ball of paste made up of a combination of fish and roe, and though the name may be quite a mouthful, it tasted fantastic, especially with the spicy base.
Of course we also worked our way through a huge number of other dishes until we could barely get up, most of which you’ll be familiar with, but nonetheless CouCou had top quality meats, and fresh big portions of vegetables. A few of which we’d especially recommend include the Basa Fish (29RMB 巴沙鱼), and the Sliced Beef Chuck (78RMB 上脑牛肉).
Another added bonus were the free additions to our meal, like the Frappe, a refreshing yogurt based drink to refresh yourself after a heavy meal, and the great tasting Tofu, which they’ll keep topping your pot off with. Service is also friendly and quick, and their menu features English names for everything. We visited the recently opened Binjiang Paradise Walk branch, but they have two other branches in the city.