Shuang Shuang, London’s first specialist Chinese hot pot restaurant opens today.
Hot pot is a dish with over 1,000 years of Chinese history, thought to have originated in Mongolia before spreading to China during the Tang Dynasty. It comprises a generous pot of simmering stock, traditionally sunk into the table, which is then used to cook an abundance of ingredients – from paper thin pork slices and bouncy fish balls, to offal and leafy Asian greens, not forgetting a great variety of flavourful dipping sauces. Across China, East Asia and South East Asia, hot pot is shared between families and friends, and every region will offer their own take on the dish.
The menu at Shuang Shuang will begin with snacks including Fish and Seaweed Floss; Pomelo Salad with Lap Cheung (a traditional Chinese sausage); Canton’s Orange Squid (sourced from a Chinatown favourite); Duck and Sour Plum Skewers; and Xin Jiang Spiced Ribs.
There will be five different broths to choose from, to begin your very own hot pot: Bird Berry (made from a rare breed of black-fleshed chicken and dried Chinese berries); Mala (made with Sichuan peppercorns and dried chilli); Herbal River (created with prawn heads and fresh lemongrass); Lamb Tonic (made with lamb bones and Chinese pickled cabbage); and Monk’s Broth (with soy milk, turnips and mushrooms). These broths pay respect to China’s diverse food cultures – from the cold, game-loving North, the spicy Sichuan, to the bountiful South – and make use of some of the finest produce available in the UK.
Seated at their very own individual hot pot, diners will choose from amongst the fifty-or-so of the freshest British and Chinese ingredients on a passing conveyor belt to add to their simmering stockpot and cook for themselves. These ingredients may include: bowls of thinly sliced free-range British Beef and Pork; Mixed Clams; Sea Bass Slices; secret recipe Beef and Chicken Balls; Pork and Crab Wontons; Chinese Pea Shoots and Mustard Leaves; Turnip Leaves and Lotus Roots; Pumpkin slices and Wood’s Ear Mushrooms; Noodles; Rice Cakes; Fresh Oysters (shucked to order); Queen Scallops; Fish Head of the Day; Brown Crab Claws; or Pork Offal Mix. Any combination is possible for the brave and adventurous, while recipe cards are available for hot pot novices to recreate China’s most loved combinations.
Shuang Shuang will occupy an old Victorian building on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Wardour Street. Split over two floors, the restaurant works time honoured Chinese features into a contemporary setting. An oak clad conveyor belt made from stainless steel will wind through the restaurant; the off-white Corian counter tops are lined on either side with individually sized stockpots ready for each diner; while the floor to ceiling windows invite the light and bustle of the West End.
64 Shaftesbury Avenue