Located just around the corner from Chinatown, in London’s glittering theatre district, Shaftesbury Avenue’s Shuang Shuang offers arguably the finest Asian hotpots in the city. In December, founder, Fah Sundravorakul launched a six-month pop up on the first floor of the restaurant - apparently the first of its kind in the UK - and we went down to try it out.
Inspired by a style of hotpot and barbecue cooking from Sundravorakul’s native Thailand, customers at Mookrata pick from a range of broths, noodles and dipping sauces, then choose a meat set menu of either beef, pork or mixed (all £30 for two people).
We’re furnished with a large round dish with a raised barbecue pad in the middle, surrounded by a moat of the flavoursome black chicken broth seasoned with jujubes and goji berries. This is shortly followed by the appearance of a large bowl packed full of crisp Choi Sum, shredded cabbage, enoki and oyster mushrooms, and a mound of doughy udon noodles ready for the cooking. Then arrives three sizeable tiers of mixed beef and pork, including thinly sliced pork belly, peppery marinated steak, and succulent slivers of rib eye. We question whether we can feasibly finish it all. Spoiler alert: we did.
Once all the ingredients arrive the method is simple: dump your veg and noodles into the broth, take your meat and place it on the barbecue, have fun playing at being a short-order cook until done, then scoop yourself out some of the good stuff and tuck in. While the cooking quality is entirely in our hands, presented with these perfectly spiced and tender cuts of meat, and the freshest vegetables, it's hard to get it wrong. The dipping sauces add new qualities to each mouthful, whether we've opted for the Sriracha-based Hot & Sour sauce, the fiery Lime & Chilli, or, our personal favourite, the savoury and insatiably moorish Moo Krata sauce.
Mookrata is very much the Choose Your Own Adventure of Asian hotpots - fun, interactive and a little bit addictive. There’s an infinite number of delicious meat, veg and noodle combinations to wrap around your chopsticks, and paired with a couple of Tsingtao beers it’s a winning formula.
Get a taste of Mookrata until June on the 1st floor of Shuang Shuang, 64 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6LU.