I was invited to the Grand Opening of Spice World, which is an award winning Chinese hot pot chain brand, in Singapore. Their latest branch is located in a 200-seater, 6,000 square foot dining space at Clarke Quay that serves up an array of aromatic spicy and non-spicy broths with high-quality and fresh ingredients.
The restaurant interior design of Spice World is a fusion of old and new world charms. The front half of the restaurant is modern chic – featuring mirrors on the ceiling, black steel and clear red glass panelling while the inner sanctum is more traditional with its geometric lattice wood-clad pavilion. This was inspired by the view in Mount Qing, a UNESCO world heritage site in Sichuan province, known for its magnificent landscape and scenery. You know that Spice World spared no expenses as this architectural space was designed by world-renowned designer Shen Lei, built in China and re-assembled in Singapore.
Spice World Hot Pot was founded in 2003 and is one of China’s top ten global hot pot brands that prides itself in the meticulous preparation of their soup broths and accompaniments. Their soups do not contain any artificial flavouring, MSG or flavour enhancers. Instead, the soup bases are first brewed in Sichuan, China using the most carefully sourced deep forest peppercorns from Hongya farmlands, chillies from the mountainous regions of Guizhou and Sichuan before being flown to Singapore, where it goes through a secondary prep. My favourite mala broth is brewed for at least four to six hours before serving.
You can choose from 7 different soup bases:
- mala (mild, medium or hot spicy level)
- pig stomach and chicken (recommended by the restaurant manager, which we chose)
- three-delicacy (pork, chicken and duck)
- wild mushroom
- tom yum
You can mix and match 2 different soup bases, otherwise known as Yin Yang at S$22.90++ or the Benz Triple Flavour Broth at S$25.90++. Solo diners can also choose a single serving at S$6++. The Teddy Bear or Hello Kitty are really quite fun and they’re made out of mala soup and beef oil. You can slowly watch it melt into the broth for an additional S$9.90++ and do note that it’s limited to 8 per day so you might want to call the restaurant in advance to book your Hello Kitty or Teddy Bear.
As seen from the video as well, they serve fresh Australian M8 Wagyu beef (S$38.90++) draped over a Barbie doll which honestly, is reminiscent of Lady Gaga but is slightly creepy in my opinion but it was definitely a source of entertainment for us at the table. For example, we joked about how we were eating her skirt first and then leaving the ‘blouse’ on till last as we didn’t want to expose her boobs. Taste-wise, I didn’t realise that it was wagyu (should’ve guessed from the marbling) and I felt that it tasted better cooked in the mala than in the pig stomach chicken broth.
Speaking of blouses, I’m glad that Spice World provides cute little aprons for diners as eating hot pot tends to be a little messy due to unexpected splash backs as you put food in to cook or when the wait staff tops up the broths.
Those small little spoonful of balls are the cheekily named Prime Minister’s Pork Balls (S$12.90++) as it’s the former UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s favourite dish, and they’re pretty tasty although I wasn’t a fan of the coriander inside.
There was Aussie mutton (S$28.90++) served on a metre-long plank and I’ll be honest…I couldn’t taste the difference between the lamb and the beef.
I liked their beef tripe (S$15.90++) which is from the first section of the cow’s stomach and like all the meats, are flown fresh to Singapore.
Seafood lovers would like the freshly prepared shrimp paste (S$18.90++) which is made from 100% shrimp meat and tobiko. I liked how the servers will help you drop and cook the paste in the soups so that you need not fuss with them personally. They also have a seafood platter at S$59.90 but we had a serving of fresh fish that was sliced very thinly.
Besides the freshness of the ingredients, I was impressed with how Spice World has a policy of hand-slicing all of their food! And their food is flown to Singapore fresh, not frozen.
Another impressive thing is Spice World’s selection of sauces. You’re really going to be spoilt for choice and they even provide a small piece of paper with some suggested mixes.
I decided to try their first suggestion of oyster sauce, sesame paste, fermented bean curd, chilli, garlic but I left out the green onions (how typical of me).
My mish-mash of a sauce was a tad salty thanks to both the oyster sauce and fermented bean curd so I decided to mellow it down and add in a bit of fragrance with their Zanthoxylum Oil.
Wuttt oil? LOL. That was my initial reaction too. This oil is actually the oil from the Sichuan pepper and adds to the numbness that is characteristic of mala. However, in small doses, it is a bit more like sesame oil – fragrant.
Dessert was a disappointing bowl of jelly, raisins, watermelon bits and crushed peanuts. I was hoping for sorbet or ice cream that would really help to wash away the spice. However, that was the only down note.
The soups were really flavourful and as there was no MSG, you will not feel exceptionally thirsty after the meal. I think a lot of late-night revellers in Clarke Quay would happily tuck into the hot pot meal after clubbing and yes…another place to makan after 10pm!!
They’re having a Mother’s Day promotion from 12th to 14th May 2018 where there will be complimentary rose jelly dessert for all ladies and free soup broths for anyone bringing their mothers to dine at Spice World.
3B River Valley Road #01-06/07
Tel. no.: +65 6265 9777
|Mon-Thu and Sun||10.30am to 4am|
|Fri-Sat||10.30am to 6am|