Following the success of their first store, King Pot have decided to make Beijing-style hot pot more available to citizens of Hangzhou with the opening of a Binjiang branch. A tad different from the spicy, mouth-numbing Sichuan-style hot pot you may be used to, King Pot delivers a breath of fresh air in the hot pot department. Additionally, its new store offers yet another style of the cooking, the Beijing way: Beijing-style Barbecue.
Walking through the doors, your eyes are immediately drawn to what look like extremely decorative vases. However, although these may serve as the centrepiece of your table for the duration of your meal, they will also be doing the cooking.
Aesthetics aside, Beijing-style hot pot differs in that it uses a relatively plain broth in which to cook your food so as to avoid masking the freshness of the ingredients, something which can occur when using heavy amounts of spice. It was clear to see why, as the freshness of their cuts of lamb (Fillet 50RMB) were duly noted and fully appreciated. Heated by coal, the high temperature of the pot means that you mustshuàn your meat, keeping hold of it at all times as it cooks almost instantly between your chopsticks. A lot of the standard hot pot meat and veg is available, although there is a heavy emphasis on keeping with the Northern flavor, with Beef (Ribs 58RMB) and Lamb (Tender Leg Meat 48RMB) dishes in abundance.
As if this wasn’t enough, King Pot’s new restaurant exclusively offers you the chance to try traditional Beijing-style barbecue as an alternative means to cooking your food. Your first decision will be whether to get stuck in and brave the grill yourself or let a member of staff do it for you, as you sit back and toast with a glass of traditional Beijing èrguōtóu (98RMB 500ml).
Dishes for the barbecue are also treated and flavoured in keeping with the Beijing vibe and the high temperature of the metal circular grill makes it ideal for cooking meat dishes, searing nicely while keep it moist. Ox Tongue (38RMB), Chicken Liver (28RMB), Sirloin Steak (28RMB) and Lamb Leg (48RMB) dishes were all complimented very highly by this type of cooking, meaning the menu is somewhat meat-heavy, although not altogether void of veggies. After eating this meat, however, you may decide to become a straight-up carnivore.
So grill or pot, that is the question. I wouldn’t worry too much though; the results are equally delicious. Menus in English, smoking allowed, parking available.