Discovered yet another place for steamboat cum barbeque buffet and this time round it is located in busy Chinatown in a rather quiet alley. Located on Sago Lane, this Hao Lai Wu restaurant is dressed in loud colors and grunge furnitures.
The wallpaper was screaming Chinese Opera or culture literally because of the location in Chinatown. There is a clash of historic feel with grunge oil barrel converted chairs – something you find from korean barbeque restaurants where you can store your belongings beneath the seat. On any normal day, I would probably be too distraught by the decor to step foot into the restaurant.
The buffet costs about SGD 18.80 for lunch and SGD 23.80 for dinner(not inclusive of tax) Drinks are also not included in the buffet.
There is a wide selection to choose; from cooked items like fries, fried chicken rolls, wedges to rows and rows of fresh ingredients for steamboat and marinated for barbeque. For this pricing, it is quite a value for money offering with crabs, clams, prawns, fish, scallops and more seafood.
There is also the usual DIY sauce station where you can make your own dipping sauce.
They name their steamboat hotpot as crystal pot mainly because of the see through container. It doesnt really mean anything. You can choose 2 different broth for your steamboat so we took the tomato and chicken broth. Both the soup were pretty bland and while they caught up on the tomato soup craze, their version is really quite mediocre. Another thing I did not like about the hotpot was the where the 2 broth is spilt in a Yin Yang shape, you cannot cook many ingredients at one go.
For the barbeque, you have a standard flat plate in the middle of the table where they line it with baking paper. Initially they grease the paper with oil for you to cook your meat but we found it too oily and stopped them from doing it. While all the barbeque meat were marinated, once they were cooked, the taste was also quite bland and mediocre. It reminded me of those Korean hotplate meat you get from foodcourts.
One of the redemption was the fresh prawns on non stop refill which you can both barbeque or cook in the steamboat.
Once in a while the server will also change the paper to a clean one for you to continue cooking. The only thing is they do at when it is full of meat and expected us to remove everything in the half raw state onto our plates while they change it. I think they should have a better timing.
One of the hot seller of this restaurant is the egg roll which they make on your hot plate. We did not order it although many other tables were doing it. It is basically egg roll with ham and other ingredients and the roll it with the paper like a sushi roll.
Overall, if you are not huge on taste of soup, you can go to this restaurant as to be fair to them, they do offer a huge range of ingredients and they are mostly fresh and of ok quality.
Address: 8 Sago St, Singapore 059012
Operating hours : 11 am to 3 am