Monday, September 15, 2014

Momiji Shabu Shabu - One For the Ladies, Collagen Hotpot

Having a Japanese steamboat buffet on a cold night is probably a very comforting experience in itself, but having it using a collagen soup base may just be the right tonic for the ladies.

Momiji Shabu Shabu at Shaw Plaza along Balestier Road is establishing itself as one of the pioneers of collagen hotpot in Singapore.

Instead of using the traditional way of making broths, Momiji takes the extra effort to simmer kampong chicken for six hours, which will actually dissolve the chicken bones that will create the collagen base.

The flavor of the soup is further enhanced with fresh vegetables to give it more depth and the broth is then cooled into a beancurd like texture that is filled with oodles of collagen.

Collagen Pudding

When you dine here, the collagen pudding is served in a iron hotpot and a few other ingredients like wolf-berries are added. As the pudding is heated up, it will melt into a soup base which is then used for a regular steamboat buffet.

The broth is quite light and subtle, and free from artificial flavorings that are quite common in other steamboat outlets. You can even season the broth using Himalaya salt if you require a stronger taste. I did find it just flavorful enough for my palate that I was happy to blanch my meat and seafood with the unadulterated broth.

Pork Collar and Beef Slices

Being a shabu shabu steamboat restaurant, the main draw is the selection of thinly sliced meat cuts. They have a choice of pork collar and beef slices as part of the buffet, but you can order waygu beef as well. Either way, the collagen soup infused protein did taste quite nice and comforting.

It is surprising, though to see other diners overcooking meat. It only takes a dozen swipes of the shabu shabu slices in the broth to gently blanch it till its nice and pink. Nice flavors and a light and hearty way to enjoy your steamboat.

Seafood - Red Prawns

Other than the meats, there is an assortment of seafood on offer as well. My personal favorite was the red prawns which were simply delicious. Fresh with an ocean sweetness, the prawns were large and succulent and when they were immersed with the chicken broth, they were utterly addictive.

Elsewhere, the seafood selection was quite par for the course and while they did not match the red prawns in terms of flavor and freshness, they were still quite good on their own and better than most steamboat places out there.

Bamboo Meat Pastes

Another thing to try here is the array of bamboo meat pastes. Beautifully presented in truncated bamboo cases, you will need a small spoon to scoop out the pastes into the broth to cook for a short while. The pastes are nicely seasoned and the eventual cooked texture was quite melting in the mouth.

Dipping Sauces

For me, steamboat needs to have great dipping sauces to satisfy me and thankfully, the dozen or so dipping sauces on offer more than meet the mark. In fact, some of the dipping sauces like the yuzu and black sesame dips were really quite extraordinary. You can even mix and match the different sauces with some additional condiments too.

Collagen Hotpot Buffet

For just under $25, you get a standard shabu shabu hotpot buffet using the collagen base which is refillable. As steamboats go, the selection of items are quiet generous and there is some variety too.

There is some additional premium items like the aforementioned waygu shabu shabu and snow crab as well, but honestly, the standard buffet will be more than sufficient to please the regular steamboat lover here.

As a dinner for two, it can make for a great date place as the activity involved in getting and choosing your own food will be ideal for couples. In addition, the female diners will enjoy the skin enhancing aspect of this eatery too.

Momiji Shabu Shabu
Balestier Shaw Plaza

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