Almost like clockwork, the first few games of the softball season in April are either rained out or extremely cold. Hence, it has become an annual tradition of sorts that our first post-game meal of the year tends to be hot pot. Unbeknownst to my team, I had planned that we visit the newly-opened Tak Heng Hot Pot in Richmond. What's the big deal you ask? Well, what if I told you that this is the new venture brought to you by Dragon Lady (formerly of Po King and Big Lai Palace)? I decided to tell my teammates once we had sat down and ordered (so they couldn't run away screaming). Well, there wasn't any screaming from Dragon Lady... Apparently, she has mellowed out...
However, the lady that greeted us was a bit intense. Not in the way of being rude, rather, she was a little too pushy with the "Special Sauce". Instead of informing us of the complimentary sauce bar near the kitchen, we were told that everyone was ordering the sauce. Sure, it was indeed tasty with all of the available flavours such as sweet, salty, tart and spicy, but it cost us $7.00. Of course, that was on top of the soup base (which is an industry standard where they charge extra) and of course the AYCE price. We actually thought the soups were rather bland. As for our meats, we had the Beef Rib-Eye, Sliced Lamb and Pork Cheek. Nothing amiss with these as they were tender and buttery. I particularly liked the beef as it was really soft, but maintained some meat texture.
We also had the freshly-made Meatballs which were texturally on point (maintaining some bite). The plate of Seafood was typical with frozen white shrimp, Kiwi mussels and basa. Of course we had to get some Offal which happened to be sliced tendon and bible tripe. I thought the tendon was a bit soft where it melted partially in the broth. There is not much to say about the plate of chikuwa, fish tofu, fried gluten, wonton and corn because it was pretty typical. However, the Fish "Sui Mai" were rather mushy and unappetizing. Also on the table was mushrooms, fried bean curd skin, spinach and watercress. Our side order of Stir-fried Sticky Rice was pretty good with a nice chewy texture while being well-seasoned. We ended off the meal with some Mango and Coconut Pudding which were more like artificially-flavoured Jello. Overall, other than the special sauce thing, we were satisfied with the AYCE hot pot.
- Food quality is decent
- Comfortable digs
- Special sauce is an expensive upsell
- Soup base could be more impactful