When I heard about a new hotpot place that serves “beauty stock”, I was keen to give it a try. It might sound gimmicky, but the trend has been around for awhile now, long enough for me to believe in its health, or at least nourishing, benefits. Think of all the bone-broth evangelists like Hemsley + Hemsley and the Singaporean Beauty in The Pot hotpot chain, which has recently arrived in Hong Kong.
Bijin Nabe is a casual restaurant with a trendy-chic design and was packed when we visited on a Thursday evening. The space is pretty big at 2,800 square feet and seats 90, but there was still a queue of people waiting during peak time, and the standard seating time is just 1.5 hours.
While the restaurant is new, I’d guess that the lines will continue given the affordable pricing. Hotpot can run a hefty tab, but the dinner sets start at a very appealing $168 per person, plus an extra $88 for the unlimited drinks bar, which has over 20 options.
We opted for the Bijin Nabe Set ($168), which includes a personalised soup, minced chicken, meat (chicken and/or pork belly) and assorted vegetables.
There are eight different soup choices, from traditional sukiyaki to the more Western tomato cream, but we opted for the signature “beauty stock”, or golden collagen chicken stock. It started off as a cute pudding, but quickly melted into one of the tastiest chicken soups I’ve had in a long time. The broth was absolutely packed with good fat and glistened accordingly. I really enjoyed the super-fresh vegetable basket, and everything tasted great cooked in the broth.
Our set came with a choice of minced chicken and a meat option of chicken, pork belly or half and half. I chose the mentaiko cheese minced chicken and pork belly. With the minced chicken, I couldn’t really taste the mentaiko flavour, perhaps because the broth was so flavourful. And the pork belly’s flavour was also quite mild. We added some salmon dumplings ($48/4) to our order, which were light and fresh.
In addition to the set, we tried the scallop carpaccio with yuzu pepper sauce ($88), which was delicate and summery.
We ended our meal with the dessert platter, which includes tiramisu, milk pudding and a scoop of ice cream ($93). I wouldn’t rush back for any of these, but they’d hit the spot if you want something sweet at the end of your meal.
Bijin Nabe is a welcome addition to our hotpot scene; it’s a great option when you want to indulge in hotpot on a small scale. Note that everything is generally quite light, so those who prefer heartier foods may not enjoy the hotpot toppings as much. But I think it would be hard to find someone who doesn’t like the signature beauty stock. It’s so rich and nourishing… I definitely drank far more than my share that night!
Shop L3–L13, 3/F, apm, Millennium City 5, 418 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong, 3596 3909
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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