With promises of delivering the finest wagyu beef variants and ingredients from all around the world, the Northern Chinese-style hot pots on each table at Hot May are the perfect tools for authentic DIY dining, and we just had to try the concept out.
Introduced to the UK by a husband and wife team from Harbin, China, it’s clear from the off that no detail has been overlooked. Greeted by an arch of colourful flowers outside the restaurant, the townhouse-style was flirty, yet made us feel right at home as floral wallpaper paired with stylist leather booth seating has a quiet, almost spa-like atmosphere about it, instantly setting the stage for a pampering dinner experience.
We opted for cocktails to begin with as we snapped up a Hot May Bellini (£11.50) and a waiter-recommended Funky Dragon (£13.50). Suffice to say these didn’t disappoint. Not only does a Funky Dragon look extra, it tastes it too. Expect to be greeted with zingy passion fruit, cranberry and pomegranate as Green Mark vodka and Passoa warm the cockles of your heart.
Our meal kicked off with a round of starters, including Soya Soybean (£6.90 per portion), Cabbage (£9 per potion) and the MVP for me: Sesame Cucumber (£6.90 per portion). I had never wondered if cucumber would taste better with a creamy sesame sauce - now I have no doubt that it does. The cabbage was a little pricier due to the mini squid tendrils weaved within - a nice touch, but left a lot to be desired on the taste front.
After a sprinkling of coriander, dates and goji berries into our pots, our Oxtail Broth (additional £2 per person) was generously poured in, and things started to get hot. And yes, while I do consider the kitchen in my own home as something to be looked at and never touched, and was cautious about the DIY aspect of this meal... it couldn’t have been more fun.
As the 6-hour simmered concoction bubbled and steamed on the table in front of us, platters of beef, seafood and tofu were surrounded the steel-ware. We were advised to start by cooking the paper-thin A4 Beef (£28 per portion) and then follow-up with the decadently-marbled M9 Wagyu Rib-Eye Beef (£128 per portion). These thinly-cut pieces cooked in mere seconds, melting luxuriously in our mouths as the rich flavour warmed our taste buds and oxtail broth sealed the deal.
We then started on the seafood (freshly source from Alaska and Scandinavia), including signature squid balls, prawn cakes and then slices of seabass and kingfish (£38 for a sharing platter of seafood for two). The prawn cakes were full of flavour and comparable to a doughless-dumpling, almost as if they hadn’t quite got dressed yet, complimented well by the lemony sea bass with seafood sauce (£2.50 per bowl).
Just when it seemed as though we would burst, a homemade wagyu pancake (£14 per portion) appeared, an unbelievably juicy beef filling married perfectly with the sweetness of red onions that made this dish almost bear similarity to a dessert - is this the start of a #beefypudding trend?
The DesignMyNight Digest
Let me start by saying everyone needs to do a hot pot at some point. It boasts all the perks of cooking without any of the unnecessary pain such as washing up or even knowing how to cook. If you’re willing to break the bank and have a really special occasion coming up then this is the restaurant that will be more than capable to accommodate you. If you’re just looking for an intro to authentic Chinese cooking and ingredients then, aside from their reasonably-priced seafood, elsewhere might be a little more forgiving for your wallet.
Hot May can be found at 30 Beauchamp Pl, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1NJ. For more great Chinese restaurants in London? Check out our guide here.