Yum Lamb Hotpot (Rosedale, North Shore City, New Zealand)
The first time we came in this place I thought we made a wrong decision on dining in here, why? Because the place does not look enticing at all, it was dark, the decor was so minimal, the waiters look bored, no smiles on their faces and the dark floors, dark cutleries and dark table make it look untidy. Add to that very serious looking customers nibbling on bones, drinking beers and liquor where most, if not all are Asians and you can’t understand any word that they are saying. I won’t be surprising if you visit this place and have the same unsettling sentiment. But even though that was the case, we still decided to stick around and gave this place a try. We were glad we did.
It was one of our spur of the moment dining experiences, hence, none of this was planned. I did not even know that the main item they serve here was lamb, I am not even a fan of that meat specially in soups as I find them really gamey. That night changed how I look at lamb, it was certainly my best hot pot experience in terms of flavours.
There was only one main thing to order here, the lamb stock hot pot, where you can choose from three different bases. One is the Spicy one, the other is the non-Spicy one and the last is a combination of both with a divider in the middle. There are two sizes, small (NZ$39.80) and large (NZ$69.80), where small can feed two to three people while the large can feed four to five people. Unlike most hotpots the base already come with ingredients that you can eat, so it is not just soup, it contains meaty Lamb backbones or what they call spine alongside herbs and spices. The base alone can be considered your dinner, having said that you have the option to add on other ingredients to have more options.
These other ingredients can be vegetables, tofu, meatballs, meats (beef and its offal, lamb slices, pork offal) and seafood. Add-ons can range from NZ$6.00 to NZ$13.00 per item. There are also other cooked dishes and drinks to enjoy with your hot pot.
We grabbed several add-ons like Spicy Beef (NZ$13.00), Beef Slice (NZ$13.00), Quail Egg (NZ$8.00), Hand Made Prawn Ball (NZ$13.00), Hand Made Fish Ball (NZ$13.00), Mushroom Platter (NZ$13.00), Veg Platter (NZ$10.00), Tofu (NZ$7.00) and Seaweed (NZ$6.00).
We also ordered several servings of Hand Pulled Noodles (NZ$5.00) as well as Fried Pork Belly (NZ$11.00) to enjoy as we wait for the hotpot to cook any ingredients thrown on it. Just a note when you order noodles they are thrown to the hot pot when everything is finished, meaning it’s just the soup left, where it will be hand pulled in front of you and the waiter will drop the freshly made noodles into the hot pot for you.
It was one messy dinner, luckily, they give you plastic gloves so you can use your hands nibbling on those lamb bones. It was totally unexpected, we tried both flavours the normal and spicy ones, both have no hints of gaminess at all, the bones tasted like pork bones and they were very meaty. The spicy broth was quite addictive, it was hot and even gets hotter as the stock evaporates and flavour becomes concentrated. It was painful but it’s the pain you want to endure again and again, this thing was really good. The other ingredients were nice to have as they give a different texture and makes everything more interesting. Finally do not skip the noodles, they are good as well, they were chewy and full of body.
So this is one of those instances that you should not judge the book by its cover, this place might not look uninviting at all but if we did not give it a shot, I would not discover the best lamb hot pot I tried in my life. People might look serious as they eat maybe because they are just concentrating on how good the food was.
Yum Lamb Hotpot
Address: 343 Albany Highway, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand