Saturday, 27 July 2013
Da.Men Hotpot 大门火锅 at Taman Sutera Utama (near Sutera Mall) in Johor Bahru
Tracy, one of the partners at Da.Men Hotpot 大门火锅 invited me to visit their restaurant in Taman Sutera Utama.
The 3 partners, Bryan, Tracy and Ivan are all Cantonese. Cantonese grow up having soup with almost every meal, so they are rather particular about their soups. The 3 partners also travel to Hong Kong often and wanted to introduce the HK style of premium steamboat to Johor.
Tracy carefully explained to us the three principles behind Da.Men Hotpot's food. Da.Men Hotpot is a premium steamboat restaurant catering to a more discerning clientele.
First, the soups are brewed using only natural ingredients such as stock bones, chicken or seafood. The broth is cooked in high heat for hours to dissolve the marrow and release their umami flavour. No artificial flavourings such as MSG is used. I can vouch for this as I had lots of soup that evening and yet did not have any aftertaste on my tongue nor felt thirsty afterwards.
Second, only fresh ingredients are used. Da.Men's fresh seafood are sourced from Pontian. Where possible live seafood is preferred and Da.Men will be adding stock tanks to store more live seafood for the hotpots.
Last but not least, the dipping sauces are freshly made in-house. No off-the-shelf sauces here at Da.Men Hotpot.
The condiments and sauce table where the customers mix their own dipping sauce to taste.
We tried two out of Da.Men's eight RM18.00 soups, namely the "Jumbo Pork Bone" soup and the "Fairy Crab" soup.
Our "Jumbo Pork Bone Soup". The soup is skimmed of excess oil and floating foam so it is served clear and clean. For RM18, this soup comes with free real soup refills (not just adding hot water as practiced in some average steamboat places).
I asked for the "Fairy Crab Soup" (RM18.00) because crab soup is one of my favourites. I love the rich umami flavour and sweetness of crab (more so than prawn soup). There is Chinese cooking wine 花雕酒 in Da.Men's crab broth, making it even more enticing to me :P
Considering that the soups are made only with natural ingredients without any MSG and that we can ask for any amount of free top-ups, I feel Da.Men's soups are real value for money.
Here are the additional ingredients we had to go with our soups.
We got another 3 more fairy crabs (RM5 each) to add to the "Jumbo Pork Bone Soup". I like that pic on the left - the crab looks like it is perched by the poolside, basking in the sun after a swim :P
The live tiger prawns (RM15) skewered with a slender wooden stick were still twitching on our plate.
This huge fresh "Meat Combo" for RM38.
Da.Men's "Five Treasure Meatballs" at RM26.40. The meatballs are hand beaten the way it is done in Hong Kong homes. Hand beating the meat stretches the fibres without breaking it and hence the meatballs have a tender yet bouncy mouthfeel. I am familiar with this technique of smacking the meat, learning it from my Hong Kong schoolmates during my uni days in Canada, years ago.
For a lot of people, Enoki mushrooms are must haves at steamboats :)
Fresh clams always sweeten any broth and they are delicious too.
I like lots of fresh and clean vegetables in my steamboat.
We also had Homemade Wanton (RM5.80), Prawn Wanton (RM6.80), Red Snapper Fillet (RM15), and Homemade Dumpling (RM5.80).
This "Shrimp Paste Fried Chicken" (RM9.80) is a must try. The chicken wings are marinaded with shrimp paste and deep fried without batter.
It is not as crackly crispy as those chicken wings fried with batter but the skin has its own likable kind of "tender crispness" and the flesh is tastier and more moist. I like this.
The soups at Da.Men are so good that I could just have them with noodles and be completely happy and satisfied.
Our Chinese tea (Tiet Kwun Yum 鐵觀音) served in an elegant tea set for only RM5.
Da.Men is a nice place to enjoy premium steamboat at reasonable prices and chat the evening away with family and friends. Just like the way it is in Hong Kong.
Restaurant name: Da.Men Hotpot 大门火锅
Address: 25, Jalan Sutera Tanjung 8/2, Taman Sutera Utama, Skudai, Johor (just beside Public Bank)
Hours: 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight
Parking: Ample free parking at location
Date visited: 24 Jul 2013