Monday, December 16, 2013

The Glasshouse

This past week I shamelessly dragged two of my friends (who are very easygoing and cheerful about my hotpot addiction) to try out a more local hotpot institution, The Glasshouse, in Braemer Hill in North Point.
Braemer Hill is the quieter area north of North Point on Hong Kong Island that I rarely frequent.  The units there tend to be bigger, older, more family oriented and more local.  It is a bit harder to get to as the MTR does not go up there and I am not as familiar with the bus and minibus routes up there.
The Glasshouse is an unusual restaurant located inside of a compound, with a barbecue area and hotpot available both indoors and al fresco on their deck.  I quite liked the idea of hotpot al fresco, but on the night we were there it was fully reserved.  It looked like there was a private party going on.
To add a bit of quirkiness - these barbecue grills are actually old foosball tables!
A few more foosball-turned-barbecue-grills, on their second life
The prices here were certainly right, where we could get a mixed hotpot soup base of satay and chicken for only HK$78.
The meat was very fresh and they assured us it had never been frozen.  Even though it was leaner and less fatty, it was incredibly tender and tasty.

We chose to order tonghao, this vegetable that I am obsessed with when it comes to hotpot. We also ordered fresh fish slices, fried tofu skin, dumplings, tofu skin, and a mushroom platter. 

One of the vegetables looked wilted and kind of "dead," as if it had been frozen and badly defrosted.  That was a disappointment. 

We also ordered fried fish skin and cuttlefish squid paste:

 I got a kick out of this menu item -- fresh water fish lips!

They had the traditional plum juice that is very tasty, especially if you are eating Sichuan spicy hotpot.

At the Glasshouse, they only have garlic, fried garlic, scallions, sesame paste, soy sauce and a chili satay paste for the mixing sauce.  I tried twice to get vinegar from the wait staff but did not succeed.  Vinegar is a key ingredient for my preferred hotpot sauce so that was a slight minus.

Overall, everything was very good, but I think I prefer the slightly fancier and slightly more expensive King's Garden and San Xi Lou. I think they have more offerings for making their sauces and their soup bases are slightly more complex. 

If I do come back to the Glasshouse, I will go for one of their fancier soup bases (like the Tom Yum soup base or Shaoxing wine chicken soup base or their HK$368(!) "special" (for that price it better be reaaaally special) lamb soup base, to see if those set the Glasshouse apart from its competition.

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