Just recently, I visited the newly opened Jin Men Da Yuan hot pot in Chinatown, the so-called famous restaurant chain from Chengdu. (not sure if they are affiliated) You know, I wasn’t planning to try Jinmen, but was persuaded by the staff while walking past the restaurant and saw that it looks fairly new.. No harm trying a new restaurant right.
Walking along the Mosque Street In Chindown, I nearly overlooked its signboard. The restaurant door is small but the ‘bling bling’ Instagram style decorations lead me to think it’s actually a café. Looking inside, the restaurant is not that spacious with only around 10 tables in total. The interior design extends slightly from the Instagram style at the door – You can see slogans are everywhere on the white walls. To be honest, the renovation presents a different feel as that of the chains in China.
Sitting down at a corner table, we could not wait to order our favourite dishes. The menu, however, seems quite limited though. It does have some special dishes, but not as inclusive as other hotpot restaurants. I guess they will extend the menu later on. Nevertheless, we do like the spicy beef and chicken, as well as the dried ballonflower which is seldom seen available in other restaurants.
The red oil comes in Mahjong shaped cubes, which is quite interesting. At first glance, I am impressed by the soup as it even is mixed with Sichuan peppers! Most Sichuan hot pot restaurants here in Singapore actually take Sichuan peppers out because many people cannot bear with the numb feeling it brings up, although that is the true authentic taste of Sichuan hotpot.
The staff promoted the Guangdong style sausage to us but it was not very outstanding. I don’t really like it and regretted ordering it. Meatball is one of my favourites must order dishes when eating hotpot, but theirs is somewhat disappointing. It does not taste fresh and I could not feel the add-on fresh flavour of coriander. Also, the must-order glutinous rice cake is quite expensive! It’s 10 SGD (without GST and service charge). To be frank, their glutinous rice cake is lacking much – I even need to request the waitress to add more brown sugar. The taste is really bland.
Because of the soft opening period, Jin Men Da Yuan has some good promotions. On the Black Friday, they offered a 20% discount off total bill. Nevertheless, with the 20% off, it still cost us 80+ SGD for this hot pot dinner. I find this to be quite expensive given that I could enjoy the similar taste (or even better food quality) with better ambience and service in Haidilao (sorry I am simply just stating the fact) with the same price I am paying. Not quite worth it in my opinion.
Getting to Jin Men Da Yuan 锦城大院
Address:22 mosque street S059502
If you may notice, many Sichuan hot pot restaurants started opening up in Singapore in recent years. Undoubtedly, the large group of PRCs here as well as some local Singaporeans who deem spicy food as the ‘spiritual nutrients’ form a lucrative market for hot pot business to boom.
I do not see Jin Men Da Yuan with a big competitive advantage. Though some dishes are good they do not provide a consistent quality. As mentioned, the meatball and glutinous rice cake is very disappointing. The service is not bad but the price is too experience for the overall food and experience we’re getting.
Just like many newly opened hot pot restaurants, I think it has a long way to go. This is not a hot pot restaurant that I will be revisiting.