New hotpot restaurant review: Bijin Nabe in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong
New farm-to-table hot pot (with “beauty stock”) in Kwun Tong
When I heard about a new hotpot place that served “beauty stock,” I was keen to give it a try. It might sound gimmicky but the trend has been around for awhile now, long enough for me to believe in its health, or at least nourishing, benefits. Think of all the bone broth evangelists like Hemsley and Hemsley and the Singaporean Beauty in the Pot hotpot chain that has recently come to Hong Kong. Bijin Nabe is the newest beauty broth/stock/pot place to arrive in our city; it’s in Kwun Tong, and is part of Japan’s AP Company which also runs Tsukada Nojo in Harbour City and Shatin.
Bijin Nabe is a casual restaurant with a trendy-chic design and was packed when we visited on a Thursday evening. The space is pretty big at 2,800 square feet and seats 90, but there was still a lineup of people waiting during peak times and the standard seating time is 1.5 hours. While the restaurant is new, I’d guess that the lines will continue given the affordable pricing. Hotpot can run a hefty tab but the dinner sets here start at a very appealing $168 per person, plus an extra $88 for their unlimited drinks bar which has over 20 options.
We opted for the Bijin Nabe Set ($168) which includes a personalized soup, minced chicken, meat (chicken and/or pork belly) and assorted vegetables.
There are eight different soup options from traditional sukiyaki to the more Western tomato cream, but we opted for the signature “beauty stock” or the golden collagen chicken stock. It started off as a cute pudding but quickly melted into one of the tastiest chicken soups I’ve had in a long time. The broth was absolutely packed with good fats and glistened accordingly. I really enjoyed the super fresh vegetable basket and everything tasted great cooked in the broth.
Our set came with a choice of minced chicken and a meat option of chicken, pork belly or half and half. I chose the mentaiko cheese minced chicken and pork belly. For the minced chicken, I couldn’t really taste the mentaiko flavour, perhaps because the broth was so flavourful. And the pork belly’s flavour was quite mild. We also added some salmon dumplings to our order ($48 for four pieces) which were light and fresh. Note that the sauce bar is plentiful and I highly recommend the laksa-like coconut curry sauce.
In addition to the set, we also tried their scallop carpaccio with yuzu pepper sauce ($88) which was nice and summery.
We ended off our meal with dessert platters which included a tiramisu, a milk pudding, and a scoop of ice cream ($93). I wouldn’t rush back for these but they hit the spot if you want something sweet at the end of your meal.
Bijin Nabe is a welcome addition to our hotpot scene; it’s a great option when you want to indulge in hotpot on a small scale. Note that everything is generally fresh and light, so those who enjoy heavier foods may not enjoy the hotpot toppings as much. But I think it would be hard to find someone who didn’t like the signature beauty stock. It’s so rich and nourishing… I definitely drank way more than my share that night!
Shop L3-L13, 3/F, apm Millennium City 5, 418 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong, 3596 3909
*By invitation for Foodie