For those wanting to experience the joys of hotpot but can’t stand the heat of a Sichuan-style dinner, this is a great option. Located right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the Cloud Nine mall next to Zhongshan Park and the Line 2 subway, this place is a great way to dine in style on a budget with friends.
The décor of Charcoal Hotpot is simple but classy. Meant for groups and big outings, the restaurant has lots of booths made for parties of four and eight. It is on the 5th floor of the Cloud Nine mall with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the street below. The service is flawless with ingredients arriving almost immediately after being ordered, the different sauces laid out presentably for diners to take at free will, and the waiters readily available to help.
There are a large selection of options for all, vegetarian and meat lovers alike. A party of eight is really able to delve into a variety of hot pot choices. Our table chose one Sichuan style hot pot and one Beijing style one, so both spicy lovers and haters were satisfied. For those English-only speakers in our group who wanted to partake in the ordering process, English menus were provided.
The Sichuan hot pot had quite a kick to it, and for those unaccustomed to the hot pot spice, it was a bit much. For those looking for a more subtle experience, the Beijing hot pot was a happier medium. Trays of meat were reasonably priced with most dishes going for 30-40RMB and the portions were plentiful. Vegetarians could also dine in style with everything from delicious tofu (9RMB) to crisp greens (11RMB) and fresh lotus root (12RMB) provided in full.
Throughout the meal, the hot water was regularly replenished, the waiters made sure to clear away any empty dishes, and were checking on the hot pot itself to make sure the meal would be of the best quality possible.
For a great night out with friends in a less touristy destination, Charcoal Hotpot is a great place to go. The bill for our group of eight came to just over 500RMB, with my personal tab coming to 66RMB. Will definitely be coming back to try the some more of the 100+ items available on their menu.
Mingyue Charcoal Hotpot – Fifth Floor, Cloud Nine Shopping Mall, 1018 Changning Lu, near Kaixuan Lu, Changning District, Tel: (0)21-6115-7065. Hours: 11am-9pm Mon-Thur, 11am-10:30pm Fri-Sun.
By Charlotte Evans
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