I adore hotpotting. It's just one of those epic Chinese meals that are highly sociable whether you have it in a restaurant or have it prepped it at home, but it's definitely the sort of meal that require a few people to share everything and would be really tricky with one or two people.
Usually, everyone gathers at the table, a steaming pot of soup bubbles away whilst you choose whatever meat, fish, vegetables or carbs you'd like to throw in. Everything is dunked into the boiling soup, cooks pretty fast and then dipped in your favourite sauce.
And this is where Shuang Shuang is super smart for coming up with the idea of small plates on a conveyor belt a la Yo! Sushi style. With everything as small portions, you get to try a bit of everything without needing to order large portions of the same thing which is how hot pot is traditionally done.
Service at Shuang Shuang is not great though. Half the staff are not really sure what some of the food items are, they're not very attentive and no one knows how to smile and greet customers properly. My third visit as a new mum with a pram was met by the very unaccommodating restaurant manager which made me feel like I was a nuisance to them, which to say the least put a right damper on my evening. Terrible service aside, the food really is superb and just where else can you get hot pot for one?
My favourite is this black bird soup, it's intense with gamey flavours but refreshingly mild and clean tasting at the same time. I also tried the mala soup and fishpond soup (they no longer serve this one) from Charlie and Etta's hotpot. The mala was not great, a little on the bitter side and not aromatic enough. The fishpond was quite strong in taste and I can't say I loved the strong sour and fishy notes.
Charlie and Etta!
64 Shaftesbury Avenue