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Thursday, 16 October 2014

[Media Invite] Dinner at 2The Pot Restaurant @ Joo Chiat

333 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427588
Tel: 6342 1007

It was my pleasure to receive an invite for food tasting by OpenRice at 2The Pot. I attended the event with representatives from OpenRice and five other reviewers / bloggers.

2The Pot is a new restaurant alongside Joo Chiat shophouses, encompassing an interesting combination of Thai Mookata and Chicken Hotpot under one roof. We thought it was a thoughtful concept - steamboat lovers can now have the best of both worlds in one setting.

The restaurant has two stories for dining - we went up the stairs (lovely photos of food on the wall along the ascend) and dined on level 2.

As one could see, 2The Pot adopts a very clean cut and neat style - black regular tables in two rows across the room across smooth polished wood floors and sleek white walls - no fuss, no muss, just a comfortable and soothing setting for diners to enjoy a good pot of soup for dinner.

They operate from dinnertime till midnight (12.00am) by the way.

We were given a tasting menu and it looked interesting, covering everything that this restaurant specialises in.

Drinks were served the moment we stepped in and introduced ourselves to each other. I chose the Thai Iced Milk Tea - light and refreshing, and not too sweet, just the perfect thirst quencher.

Just when we thought we'd grasped the Thai-Chinese fusion concept well, we were surprised once again by the delightful appetiser of Papadum (an Indian snack!). A couple of us thought that the Papadum here was a little on the salty side, but nonetheless, awesome when paired with the special homemade chilli served together.

The Thai Fishcakes were good - tasty fish-flour paste fried till a crispy golden brown on the exterior with a taut but still springy interior, rich in flavor.

We set the pots to boil now. All in all we had 5 pots for the 7 of us, sounds intimidating huh?  It was exciting though, whilst we waited to try the different flavored soup base and all. We had the Spicy Hotpot, Laksa Hotpot and Assam Hotpot as well as Tomyam Mookata and Chicken Soup Mookata - all to be described in greater detail hereinbelow.

First we started with the Spicy Chicken Hotpot. There were a lot of ingredients such as red chilli, green peppers, onions, chicken etc all tossed into a big pot of spicy (mala) soup base.  We waited for it to boil while constantly stirring it, and then had a small bowl each to start.

The soup was very thick, even a little on the sticky side, but it did not give the piercing numbing spiciness that one usually associates with mala soup. We did not know if that was the usual standard, or whether the restaurant played down on the level of spiciness to try to suit us. The chicken was tender enough, but we felt that the soup could do with a little less stickiness and a little more spiciness.

Next, we worked on the Laksa Chicken Pot. The ingredients looked good - the perfect ingredients for a good pot of authentic laksa seemingly- with the taupoks (dried beancurd), fishcake slices etc.

When it simmered, we took a small bowl each to try. The laksa gravy was good - thick without being too gooey, and the level of spiciness was just nice. The rich and distinctive flavor of laksa (spicy, with the sweet twist of coconut) was well noted; and the chicken was tender.  This was one of our best / favorite choices at the end of the night.

The last pot was Assam Chicken Pot. As far as assam goes, this pot lacked the sharp sour sting of assam (usually a spicy and sour gravy), but instead was very redolent in a sweet flavor I deduced to be coconut, perhaps?

For the Laksa Chicken Pot and Assam Chicken Pot, we had Fried Mini Buns served with them. The buns were lovely - crispy skin and fluffy sweet interior. They were a great accompaniment to the spicy soup bases in place of rice.

Now we come to the Mookata (note that this was not the sequence in which we had dined, of course). They had these lovely little golden Mookata pots - actually as compared to the Mookata or BBQ steamboat at other restaurants, the soup pot here were a little narrow, to the extent that even using a tablespoon to scoop the ingredients at time was a little challenging.

Nonetheless, let's begin with journey of Mookata dining.

We had Tom Yum Soup base and a Clear Chicken Soup base.  The soup base was poured from plastic water jugs into our pots and then we waited for them to boil.

Finally the tantalizing soup reached boiling point and we reached for the ingredients excitedly.

Our Mookata set comprised of this huge basketful of leafy greens, golden mushrooms, sweet corn, vermicelli and eggs.

For the meat, we had a very generous serving of prawns, squids, beef, chicken, pork, otah, fishballs, meatballs, crabstick, sausages and a packet of pork lard.

We kickstarted by greasing the pork lard over the BBQ dome of the Mookata pot, the usual practice it seems.

Then we began tossing items into the soup area of the Mookata pot to cook, distributing an equal split of vegetables and meatballs between the two different pots.

Now we spread the meat thin across the BBQ dome and continued flipping them till they were grilled to a slight crisp.

We cracked the eggs over the steaming pots of soup. Actually we cracked one of the eggs directly over the pot. For the other egg, one of the guys stirred it till a yellow pulp before we poured it over the sizzling pot - he mentioned it was the correct way they ate Mookata in Thailand.

Another bout of surprise came with these Marinated Beef and Korean Spice Pork Belly - yet another cuisine added to the family. Nonetheless, these were their specialities as well so we were honored to have a taste of it.

The Marinated Beef did not have much impact on flavor for me, though the beef was succulent.

The Korean Spicy Pork Belly was quite tasty - thin, crunchy slices of pork marinated with kimchi-tasting sauce. I enjoyed the chewy texture and slight tinge of hotness - I could see why this was a favorite here.

While enjoying a hearty feast at 2The Pot, one of the partners here, Shawn, (who also prepared our meal himself!) introduced the idea behind this interesting restaurant concept to us and mingled with us for some sharing and photo-taking.

Overall, the meal was rather enjoyable - bursts of flavors filling the palate, generous variety of fresh ingredients and very warm hospitality. However, I feel that the soup here tend to be very salty (concurred by some of the others) in taste. Also, while encumbering two cuisines under one roof may be a great idea, it might be nice to keep to just that instead of infusing in a little bit of Indian and Korean etc as well, if not it might confuse the diners overall. Just my two cents worth.

Anyway, was glad for the chance to meet other reviewers and bloggers - thank you 2The Pot and OpenRice for this sumptuous meetup!

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