There’s no better eating experience on a cold night to get your friends together over a bubbling hotpot.
Spend a couple of hours hanging out over and DIY-ing your dinner at Gulou Hotpot Restaurant. The Al Barsha eatery, formally Little Lamb, has re-opened with a great value deal – unlimited amounts of food for AED 49.
If you’re not already a hotpot devotee, the traditional Chinese method of cooking involves a large pot of mild, spicy or half and half broth being set in the middle of the table on a hot ring. Then you order all your raw ingredients using a check list, and lob them in the liquid to cook.
We’re given a menu that’s in Chinese and English, with photos to give you a clue when the translation fall short. There’s fish, meat, tofu and tons of leaves and vegetables. Staff couldn’t be more lovely in helping us decide what works well together from the 48 bits and pieces available.
While our pot’s bubbling, we stock up from the sauce buffet at the back of the restaurant. From your entry level soy and oyster sauces, to fiery chillis and sesame paste, it’s all here. Again Gulou’s team are close by to make recommendations, and even mix up a blend of dipping sauces that we think we’ll like. (They’re right.)
Ingredients come fresh out of the kitchen and we’re pleased to see the seafood and meats aren’t frozen. In the pot go fish balls, rice noodles, pak choi, and chunks of tofu. We try both soup options – the spicy option is voted too hot for some of the table. Take turns customising your brew then dousing it in dips.
There are enough possibly combinations to keep us amused for almost two hours. If you have room, desserts are thrown in too – fried bananas and sweet red bean paste buns – not in the pot, thankfully. Soft drinks are also free-flowing. Gulou certainly knows how to put on a hot deal.
How to get there – parking is limited, on-street and RTA. There’s a bus stop outside or it’s a short walk from Mall of the Emirates.
AED 49 per person for two hours of unlimited soup, ingredients, soft drinks and desserts. 11am-1am daily. Beside Emirates Post, Seedaf 1, Al Barsha. 04 347 8157.