Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Late Night Spicy Hotpot

We kept saying we wanted to eat something light after attending a social event at the Central Harborfront, but we ended up having a long late dinner at a new restaurant in Causeway Bay specializing in Taiwanese spicy hotpot. I found Spicy Spirit on the Eatigo app just as I was searching for somewhere to eat and I remembered some friends were raving about the place earlier. That’s why we ended up making a last-minute booking and showed up at their door 10 minutes later.

Spicy Spirit restaurant was one of the few recent imports of hotpot restaurants, with this one coming from Taipei. They only opened this first Hong Kong branch near Times Square less than a year ago. Unlike any other local hotpot restaurant, Spicy Spirit’s dining area was cozy with recessed lighting and a decent urban view from the higher level of a commercial complex – something that resembled more a fine-dining establishment than a casual eatery.

Their a la carte menu was pretty standard, with sections of meat, seafood, vegetables and snacks with only two choices of soup base – one being their signature "mala" spicy soup, and the other "ying yang" soup base, which was essentially a choice of both their spicy and non-spicy soup in a specialized pot with the divider in the middle. And that’s what we chose.

With just the two of us obviously it’s no way we could sweet the menu, but we thought we did order quite a bit of food, including some of their signature dishes. The restaurant pride themselves in their famous soup base, said to be made using their in-house secret formula of spices, fruits and vegetables, and without any meat at all. Soon after the soup was brought in in a stainless steel casserole and heated up on the table-top stove, the staff invited us to have a sip of the soup before our dishes arrived, and the soup was indeed delicious with just the right balance of spices and a hint of sweetness but without a trace of the oily flavor present in many spicy soups we had elsewhere.

Soon our dishes arrived and they filled up our entire table. Of course to start we had beef, the staple item of any hotpot meal. I thought the beef chuck flap from locally breed cow was served in pretty generous portion (200g ought to be more than sufficient for us), cut medium thick and with good meaty flavor and a firm bite.

In addition to the raw beef for the hotpot, they also had a few braised beef offal dishes. The one we had was called Connoisseurs’ Mixed Braised Meat Pot, which basically came with everything from tendon to brisket to tripes, and they were great, especially the tripes cooked soft and well-infused with the chili-based braising liquid (similar to the spicy soup base but more intense)

We also enjoyed a few other dishes that we ordered. Duck blood curd “jello” was one of their famous dishes, with the huge blocs of duck blood curd mixing well with the rich soup flavor. We often found the Taiwanese version was much better than what we usually found locally, and this one was no exception since they directly imported those from Taiwan daily. The soup came with a couple blocs and we loved it so much that we ordered an additional portion from their menu, which came in the size of 5. I love its particularly soft and wobbly texture (as the name suggests, like a jello shot).

They had a wide selection of “snacks” to go with the hotpot, all said to be made in-house daily. The minced beef meatball was the one specially made for the Hong Kong branch, with the meat jus filling in the center that burst as you bite into it after letting the meatballs cook in the broth. We also had the cabbage and mushroom dumplings – a rather unusual combination of ingredients but both were tasty with the spicy soup. The staff also recommended the deep-fried tofu rolls, with them made in-house daily so they were fresh and crisp, and they worked especially well for dipping in the soup and taking in all the rich spicy flavor. And I also liked the "ice tofu", previously frozen than braised for a slightly different texture, was served in a casserole, already cooked.

Just as we finished all the dishes, we were offered a choice of sorbet as dessert. The mango sorbet was great, with the sweet flavor worked well as the palate cleanser after an whole hour of spicy food. Overall, while I thought the food may be on the pricey side (even with the decent discount offered through Eatigo), but the quality of the dishes was great and I could see myself returning some time when I am in the hood and craving for a comfortable hotpot meal.

When? October 11 2018
Where? Spicy Spirit, Level 25 Soundwill Plaza 2 Midtown, 1 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Spicy Spirit Signature Spicy Soup
Web: www.spicyspirit.hk


Unknown said...

Looking So yummy fancy mushroom and food items. The great quality and quantity are the two factors which I really like.

Unknown said...

Looking So yummy fancy mushroom and food items. The great quality and quantity are the two factors which I really like.