London is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, and hot pot is no exception. Whether one is in search of Korean, Chinese, or Japanese-style hot pot, London has it all. In this essential guide, readers will discover the best hot pot restaurants in the capital, along with practical tips for exploring them.
Hot pot is a perfect meal for sharing with friends, and a sumptuous feast to be engorged upon over an evening. From Korean-style army stews to face-meltingly hot Sichuan spices, London’s hot pot scene offers something for everyone. With this guide, readers will be able to eat their way around the best hot pot restaurants London has to offer.
- London offers a diverse selection of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese hot pot restaurants.
- Hot pot is a perfect meal for sharing with friends and trying new flavors.
- This guide provides practical tips for exploring London’s hot pot scene.
Best Hot Pot in London
Haidilao is a popular hot pot restaurant located in Leicester Square. It is a well-known establishment in China and has become a classic in London. The restaurant offers a range of Sichuan flavours, with varying levels of spice. While some dishes are incredibly spicy, others, such as the clear chicken and mushroom broths, are more comforting. Haidilao is famous for its long queues, so the restaurant provides free manicures, board games, and snacks to keep customers entertained while they wait for a table. Although it is not the best hot pot in London, it is a must-try for those who love hot pot.
Charco Charco is a fusion hot pot and yakiniku restaurant located in Covent Garden. The restaurant is owned by Leo Jin, the UK’s largest importer of Asian foods. Charco Charco prides itself on serving the freshest high-quality ingredients. The restaurant offers a range of dishes, including oysters topped with caviar, but the main attraction is the meat hot pot. The restaurant’s meat hot pot is a must-try and is sure to satisfy any meat lover’s cravings.
Tian Fu is a hot pot restaurant located in Shepherds Bush. The restaurant is headed by Zhang XiaoZhong, who previously worked at Soho’s excellent Sichuan restaurant Barshu. The food at Tian Fu is authentic and offers a range of Sichuanese dishes. The restaurant serves a variety of cuts, including intestines, tripe, and other questionable ingredients. However, those who prefer regular cuts can still enjoy the restaurant’s delicious dishes. Tian Fu is a cut above Haidilao and offers a unique dining experience.
Kangnam Pocha is a Korean restaurant located in Covent Garden. The restaurant does not take bookings and is often crowded, with a large number of people vying for space around one of their hot pot tables. Kangnam Pocha’s hot pot is a selection of delicious dishes, including the Gamja Tang, a spicy broth of braised pork ribs filled out by selections of vegetables. The restaurant is also famous for its Korean Fried Chicken, which is a must-try.
Chilli Cool is a little-known hot pot restaurant located in Bloomsbury. The restaurant offers authentic Chengdu dishes and hot pots. The Sichuan boboji is a style of hot pot where meat and veg on sticks come business-end-down in a fiery broth of oil and soup. The flavours often come with a healthy kick of Sichuan’s signature numbing spice, delivering a zing that leaves your lips literally humming. The restaurant also serves bingfen, a bowl of ice-cold jelly drizzled in brown-sugar syrup, which is perfect for taking the edge off the spice.
Cocoro is a Japanese hot pot restaurant with locations in Bloomsbury, Marylebone, and Highgate. The restaurant’s sukiyaki is a perfect example of all the high points of Japanese cooking. The broth is delicate and balanced, with satisfying umami notes throughout. The restaurant’s hot pot is healthy, with gently cooked vegetables and fresh slices of meat. Cocoro’s sukiyaki is a perfect winter warmer and is a must-try for those who love Japanese cuisine.
Happy Lamb is a hot pot restaurant located in Holborn. The restaurant is an import from Inner-Mongolia and offers a range of broths. The restaurant’s beautifully-marbled, near-paper-thin slices of lamb are a must-try and are seen on every table, being slid into bubbling pots by the chopstick full. Happy Lamb’s lamb is sourced within the UK, so there’s no need to worry about air miles.
Dragon Inn Club
Dragon Inn Club is a traditional Chinese hot pot restaurant located in Victoria. The restaurant is decked out to resemble the inns of eighth-century China and offers a range of hot pots. The restaurant’s scarlet soups of fiery disposition make for one spice-inducted high-endorphin meal. Dragon Inn Club is a can’t-go-wrong option for those who want to try traditional Chinese hot pot.
Naru is a Korean restaurant located in Holborn. While it is not a hot pot restaurant, the restaurant’s Korean army stew fits the hot pot bill perfectly. The massive pot is brought out and whacked on top of a portable gas stove in a spectacle that often turns heads. The stew is a sharer and is filled with bits of spam and tteokbokki. Strands of sliced beef come bubbling up with segments of needle mushrooms, and a gentle heat runs throughout. Naru is a must-try for those who want to try something different.
Practical Tips for Exploring the Best Hot Pot in London
For those who are new to the hot pot scene, it’s important to understand the major differences between the types of hot pots available in London. Chinese hot pots, which are typically from Sichuan, are known for their fiery red broths that pack a powerful punch of spice. These hot pots are not for the faint of heart, as they often include Sichuan numbing spice that can make your lips hum. However, if you love spice, Chinese hot pot is an endorphin-rich, slap-in-the-mouth experience that you won’t want to miss.
Korean hot pots, also known as army pot stews, are less intense than Chinese hot pots and often feature ingredients like spam that were brought to Korea by US soldiers. The base of Korean hot pots often comes from kimchi, which gives them a mild-spicy, sour flavor. If you enjoy kimchi, you’ll likely enjoy Korean hot pot.
Japanese hot pot, or sukiyaki, is a unique experience that is often overlooked by hot pot lovers. Unlike Chinese and Korean hot pots, Japanese hot pots are never usually spicy. Instead, they have a clear and umami broth that is mysteriously rich. Sukiyaki is typically eaten as a single serving dish, rather than as a sharer in the Korean or Chinese way.
When exploring the best hot pot in London, it’s important to keep in mind the different types of hot pots available and their unique characteristics. For those who love spice, Chinese hot pot is a must-try. Korean hot pot is a great option for those who enjoy sour and mild-spicy flavors, while Japanese hot pot offers a rich and savory experience.