Monsoon Shabu Shabu

Hotpot, steamboat, whatever you know it as, cooking meat and/or vegetables in simmering soup stock at your table is fun and delicious.┬áThe latest addition to Hobart’s midtown calls itself by the Japanese name, shabu shabu.

Threequels in a trilogy are often flops. Personally, I liked Alien 3. The very popular, Thai Veggie Hutt, has been a Hobart vegetarian stalwart for years, we enjoyed our visit to Monsoon Thai Fusion, and Monsoon Shabu Shabu is set to chart another successful course.

The early sitting quickly filled up on Thursday night when The Lovely Cathy and This Girl visited.

The menu has a handful of entrees but the focus is hotpot. For ease of ordering you can choose from a combination platter – vegetable, $22.90; pork and chicken, $27.90; beef, $27.90; seafood, $37.90; and banquet, $49.90, for a little of everything.

Otherwise choose your soup base, $5.50-$7.50 per person, which includes refills. Then go mad deciding whatever you want to include in your bespoke hotpot.

Your table attendant will fire up the gas cooker at your table and your already warm stock will be positioned in the middle of the grill. Your dishes will arrive and you can choose to cook them directly in the soup or on the grill around the soup pot. Add rice to your bowl and eat it with the cooked additions with or without the soup base.

Watching the hunking pieces of meat go by, we thought the platters might be a little OTT for our delicate appetites (falls off chair laughing). So we chose our own, starting with the Korean mild spicy soup (medium), $7.50 per person.

We added: Chinese cabbage, $6; enoki mushroom, $6; zucchini, $6; bacon, $9; marinated chicken breast, $9; Korean noodles, $5; steamed rice, $3 and the condiments platter, $5.50, which included fresh chilli, lemon, garlic paste and spring onions.

Our early attempt was fun but it really was the soup in the final stages of eating that was most delicious, benefitting from the entire contents of the condiments platter being upended into the hotpot and the combined flavours of all our meats and vegetables.

Cooking at your table increases the social experience of dining out, connecting you to your food and your company in a collegial way. Hungry, curious and new to hotpot cooking, we gingerly started and then threw caution to the wind. The guests more familiar with the technique at surrounding tables were more circumspect in their approach. Pacing their cooking, taking their time over some ingredients more than others.

There’s a real opportunity to dwell and enjoy the experience here. Watch the hotpot which takes awhile to get going, and when it does it’s soon on rapid boil. No soup (with meat) deserves that.

Our table attendant was fantastic; enthusiastic, pleasant and keen to help us navigate shabu shabu.

It was a unique and enjoyable eating experience and wonderfully tasty although I haven’t fully reconciled the experience at $30 per person (drinks excluded). I expect the combination platters might be better value. Do try Monsoon Shabu Shabu and let us know what you think. You must also visit their toilet.

Tip: make sure you repeat yourself won’t you? Shabu singular is drug slang.

Find Monsoon Shabu Shabu at 120 Elizabeth Street, Hobart. Their numbers are 6289 6329 or 0423 156 595.

We tried a number of times over a different mediums, to make a reservation for our visit and finally got a response on the day of our visit. The turnover is consistent so if you can’t make contact it’s probably worth dropping in anyway. You can have a drink nearby if you need to wait. We’ve since discovered they’re on Dimmi. If we’d tried to book this way, we might have had more luck (#sadface). Try here.

Here’s our post from the sequel – Monsoon Thai Fusion.

Fancy grilling your own food at more affordable prices? Visit The Hub Cafe Korean Fusion BBQ in Moonah.

A little further up the road is Bar Wa Izakaya – it’s not DIY but there are more options and it’s better value.

Rude Boy is close for a drink at 130 Elizabeth Street – Here’s our post – Rude Boy.

We ended our evening with a nightcap at the equally close Ettie’s, at 100 Elizabeth Street – Here’s our post from a lunch visit – Ettie’s.

The Lovely Cathy makes beeswax food covers amongst other things. Find out how to make your own (or buy them locally) on Fun with Wax.

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