Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown

I had one of the most exciting meal of the year at Hot Pot in Chinatown last week.

It wasn’t at a fancy, expensive restaurant.

But it was something totally new and that I had never done before – and when you eat out as much as I do, that’s something to celebrate!

Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

The first outpost of a 150-something-strong Thai-based franchise, Hot Pot specialises in… well… hot pots.

Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

The ultimate social eating dining concept, hot pot brings family and friends together around a broth-filled pot and a variety of toppings to cook in them.

Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Once you’ve chosen your broth from the 5 daily-made varieties and a few too many toppings from a 60-something strong list, all you have to do is sit back and relax.

All whilst nibbling on some fantastic Thai-style chicken wings and prawn toast (not pictured but absolutely delicious).

Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + WhiskyHot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + WhiskyHot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

When you’re doing that, the kitchen will get everything ready, pouring, crushing, peeling, chopping and mixing the many many ingredients necessary to craft Hot Pot’s signature broths.

Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Before you know it, a big steel pot of fragrant broth will appear in the centre of your table, alongside the freshest selection of toppings.

Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + WhiskyHot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Pork, beef, fish, vegetables…

Moderation was never my strong suit, so we went for quite literally all of them, and I strongly recommend you do the same!

Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Then it’s time for you to get cooking by adding whatever toppings you fancy into the broth.

Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Add things one at a time or really go to town and put a little bit of everything inthere at once, there’s really no wrong way to do hot pot.

Plus, the more things you cook in the broth, the more layers of flavour you add to your initial broth, which means the more you eat, the better it gets!

Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown ● London restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

A meal that’s meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace, hot pot is all about gathering your favourite people around a table create delicious food memories.

Definitely the hot (pot) place to be this winter!

Hot Pot, 17 Wardour St, London W1D 6PJ

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Hot Pot restaurant, Chinatown

Kiln, Soho

With so many new restaurants popping up in London every month week, coming across something that’s not already been de- and re-constructed 25 times over is a rare thing.

And yet it’s just what super-popular, Thai-inspired Kiln does.

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

With a succession of 5* reviews under their belt, as well original Thai-inspired small plates cooked with first-class British ingredients and very keen pricing to top it all, scoring one of the few bar stools overlooking the open kitchen is no easy thing.

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Which is why when you finally do, you better make the most of it and order up a storm!

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Starting with a couple of drinks…

A green peppercorn daiquiri for him…

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

And a tall glass of super-refreshing lemongrass iced tea for me!

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Aged lamb & cumin skewers.

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Crispy, intense, fatty in the best sort of way.

Was I not so curious and set on trying as many dishes as could possible handle, I could happily have eaten a plateful of those and left a very happy customer!

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Smoked sausage with turmeric.

Spicy, complex and not unlike top-quality BBQ-ed merguez sausages…

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + WhiskyKiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Beautifully plump, sweet langoustines, kaffir lime and sweet mint.

Summer supper perfection.

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Clay pot baked glass noodles with five spice ducks and offal with aged soy.

Warming, comforting and interesting all at once!

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

Last but not least – Wild ginger and short rib curry from Burma.

A beautiful, delicate curry, with melt-in-the-mouth beef rib slices, lifted by the fresh flavour of anise-sweet Thai basil.

Kiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + WhiskyKiln, Soho ● Restaurant review ● Cake + Whisky

With stir fried Cornish greens & soybrown and brown jasmine rice on the side, because wasting any of that curry sauce would be a crime.

Much like not serving dessert is usually one in my book. But with Crosstown and Gelupo nearby and open ’til late(ish), I suppose in Kiln’s case, it’s not that much of a big deal!

Soooo, get there early and get queuing!

(or if you can get a few people together, they also take bookings for 6+ people… #just saying)

Kiln Soho58 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9TL

Kiln, Soho

Easy Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

About two offices ago (what do you mean that’s not an accurate way to measure time?), I got introduced to Itsu and its dangerously addictive coconut chicken noodle soup.

Easy Thai coconut chicken noodle soup | Cake + Whisky

Needless to say, it became my lunch of choice for those days when I was too lazy/late/disorganised to pack lunch (or I just really, really wanted something warm, spicy, comforting and full of rice noodles for lunch).

Time passed, offices moved and suddently, there was no Itsu nearby for me to get my coconut chicken noodle soup fix.

Easy Thai coconut chicken noodle soup | Cake + Whisky

Luckily, it turns out it’s really easy and quick to make, taking only about 15 minutes from start to finish.

It’s barely any work at all, and yet it delivers a punch of warming, complex flavours. Rich, spicy, tangy, funky all at once. Plus it’s a one pot sort of dish. Less washing up = always a winner in my book.

Easy Thai coconut chicken noodle soup | Cake + Whisky

I know it sounds too good to be true, but you definitely want to give it a try, because it’s all pho real!

Easy Thai coconut chicken noodle soup | Cake + Whisky

Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup (serves 1)
Ingredients:
  • 100g chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 spring onions, white cut into bite-sized pieces and green thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • small garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
  • tiny piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 3 tbsp canned chopped tomato
  • 125ml coconut milk
  • 200ml chicken broth or water
  • fish sauce to taste
  • 50g rice noodles, prepared according to packaging instructions
  • lime wedge to serve
  • salt, pepper
Method:

1. In a saucepan or wok, heat up the sesame oil until it just starts smoking. Add in the red curry paste, grated garlic and ginger and curry powder and cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes.

2. Add in the chicken and spring onion white pieces and cook for a few minutes.

3. Pour in the coconut milk, chopped tomato and chicken broth, reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with fish sauce, salt and/or pepper accordingly.

4. Place the prepared rice noodles in a bowl. Top with the coconut chicken broth. Garnish with spring onion greens and a lime wedge and serve immediately.

Easy Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup