Restaurant Review : The Hotpot Publika

I have an obsession with hotpot or steamboat places. Having tried multiple different locations, I found some good places that I regularly frequent.

A few days back, I was served a Facebook ad on a new hotpot place in Publika. They just opened like, 2 weeks ago. Immediately, I shared the link to my usual makan girlfriends and we made plans for our next catchup.

The Hotpot Publika is a Cantonese style hotpot (steamboat) restaurant and Japanese sake bar. It’s located at Block D1 in Solaris Dutamas, ie Publika. They’re located a couple of shops next to Uncle Don’s, upstairs of Whimsical, on the Plan B side of Publika entrance.

Stepping into the restaurant, you’ll see seating area in a cashier counter and common seating areas of wooden table and chairs and induction cooker on each table. 

On the left, there are 2 private room areas, separated by partitions, for smaller groups that comes with a karaoke setup. Now, honestly, I don’t get why hotpot places comes with karaoke setup. Why this combination? Where did all these originate from? The culture of singing & boiling food? 🤔

The menu is not overwhelming and features the usual staple of fresh seafood (prawn, abalone, scallops, squids), seasonal seafood (crab, Lobster, clams), homemade paste & balls, beancurd rolls, meat slices, tofu, vegetables, egg, noodles and more. Somewhat on the higher price range, but you get what you paid for in a nice air-conditioned restaurant in Publika. 

While most of the usual staple is featured on the menu, I somehow feel like the selection is less than the Hong Kong Hotpot that I’ve been used to. 

Me and the girls ordered a combination soup of Premium Cantonese Pork Bone Soup (RM 25) and Spicy Szechuan Style Ma Lat soup (RM 25). Kind of our go to combo. 

As we ordered out food, and waited for the soup to boil, the staff came over to help us with a mic of their Special Dipping Sauce. 

An interesting combination of a bit of all the different sauces and condiments on a tray wheeled over next to your table. From some cili padi, to sweet sambal, to cili boh, to fermented beancurd paste (fu yue), and coriander, you can choose to add more to suit your individual taste. I like things spicy, so I added more cili boh for that extra kick! 😋

All the individual dishes came out quite quickly after we ordered. And we were more than delighted to start digging in. 

Enoki mushrooms (RM 8)
Chinese Spinach (RM 8)
Japanese Premium Snow Crab Sticks (RM 18)
Premium Beancurd Roll – Single (RM 15), Double (RM 23) 
Sanbanto Premium Pork Balls (RM 12)
Fish paste (RM 15)
Black Fungus (RM 8)

We wanted to order the Fresh Cockerell (Si Ham) (RM 15) and Curry Squid Balls (RM 10) but they were out. 

Abalone Slice (RM 18)

So, the owner sent over these Abalone Slices, with compliments as an apology for not having the 2 items we wanted. We weren’t too upset by the unavailability, to be honest, so it was a pleasant surprise when we got this instead. 

Fresh Nam Yue Bacon (RM 15)

And just because we were all starving, we ordered the Nam Yue Bacon as a snack. It was a small bowl, but it was really delicious. I mean, bacon. Come on. 

We started dumping stuff into both the clear and spicy broth pretty much immediately when it started to boil. And just never stopped munching away non stop. 

The spicy soup is not overly spicy or oily, unlike the one in HK Hotpot so it’s a more bearable for those of you not too keen on spicy broth. Ma Lat is meant to be more peppery anyways, and the dried chili in the soup typically helps give you that extra kick. 

Dipping the food in the mixed sauce, (I don’t like coriander so mine is just orangey red), is really satisfying. It’s just the perfect heat needed on a rainy day like tonight. 

Overall, we enjoyed the meal. The soup was good and the ingredients were fresh. The paste (pork & prawn) is good and the small bowl is rather deceiving, because it was just right if not a little too much for us. Considering, of course, we were so greedy we ordered so much for 3 person.

While it was a pleasant meal, with drizzling rain and chilly night outside, it was lacking a bit of oomph overall. Maybe the spicy soup wasn’t spicy enough. Maybe the ingredients felt limited in variety due to a few items’ unavailability. I was full, could not eat another bite, but it was not satisfying enough. Can’t put my finger on it.

Can’t help but compare it with my favorite Hong-Kong Hotpot at Telawi Square. Somehow, The Hotpot Publika fell short in some areas. It’s not bad, just not quite the same level. Still prefer HK Hotpot. 

Would I come back though?

Yeah. The location, the fact that it’s the kind of hotpot cuisine that I like, I’ll surely revisit with different friends. It’s a bonus to be able to go downstairs after your meal bere, head to Whimsical and enjoy a night cap cup of tea and some gelato or churros.

The Hotpot Publika

Add: Block D1, Level G4, Unit 9, Solaris Dutamas  (Publika), 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +6017 570 1698
Operating Hours: Tue -Sun, 6pm – 11pm (closed on Mondays) 

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