3 Month Review: Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
Located in the Creditview and Burnhamthorpe area, the Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot beckoned as a huge, bright space filled with delicate aromas. My husband and I were excited to try out this cuisine, so much so that we brought our son Kade with us. We were quickly shown to a table and were excited to see what was in store!
The space was very clean and obviously well cared for. I could tell that it was a place where groups and families could come to have a great time over a long, relaxing dinner.
“You place your food into the boiling broth and wait for it to cook. What fun!”
The tables include an induction burner in the center that holds whatever hot pot you order. We chose the Yin Yang pot ($5) with half hot and spicy and half mild broth. Each one had interesting additions: chilies, garlic, cardamom pods and dates. You then order the ingredients from a huge menu and cook your choices in the broth. What a great way to slow down, talk and enjoy the company of your friends and family. "All You Can Eat" at this restaurant means you can order ingredients up to three times to cook in your pot; the variety was very interesting. You are provided with a paper menu on which you write the selections and quantities of each that you'd like. Plates of food start to arrive and after consulting the cooking times for each ingredient, you place your food into the boiling broth and wait for it to cook. What fun!
What they can improve on:
“In a word, service.”
In a word, service. We went on a Monday night and the restaurant was practically empty. While the service at the beginning with taking our order and bringing the hot pot and our first ingredients was speedy, we were never offered a second or third helping which was very disappointing. Servers continually walked past our table, whisking away empty dishes but never asking if we needed or wanted anything. After waiting what seemed like forever, we actually gave up and decided to just have dessert. I had to flag down a server who seemed annoyed that I did, and ask for our dessert to be brought. If this is the service on a slow week night, I can't imagine what it must be like on a Friday or Saturday.
“We needed to go to the "sauce station" ourselves to get the various dipping sauces for the food.”
I also found it a bit disappointing that we needed to go to the "sauce station" ourselves to get the various dipping sauces for the food. It would have been preferable if they served one of each to the table in a small portion and then we could have tried them and gotten refills as necessary on our own.
You pay for broth: In addition to the AYCE price, you also have to pay for the broth. It's not like I can actually start cooking without the broth.
Lastly, when dessert was served - ice cream - it came with plastic spoons. Seriously? For the price of this meal, I would have expected proper cutlery; I expect plastic with take-out only. I think this oversight really lowers the perceived quality of the restaurant.
What we tried:
The All You Can Eat menu is $21.99 as a flat rate; however, the broth was an additional charge, as were drinks and other a la carte selections. For the $21.99, choices included thinly sliced, well marbled lamb and beef, garlic chicken and beef, head on shrimp, squid and crab sticks and so much more. Meatballs included pork, beef, fish, shrimp and lamb. We chose broccoli, sweet potato, potato and king mushrooms for our veggies. Fried tofu, Chinese dumplings and handmade noodles rounded out our choices.
There was still more to choose from, but that was all we could manage. The thinly sliced meat and seafood took mere seconds in the broth to be cooked; the other meats and meatballs longer - about five minutes. Vegetables depended on how much you wanted them cooked - I didn't leave mine in for too long since I love them tender-crisp. It was fun picking up the pieces and dropping them into the broth, however, I must admit my chopstick skills were sorely lacking when we were there!
It was a fun challenge to fish my pieces out of the pot and onto my plate. Add to that the variety of sauces that were available: hoisin, soy, BBQ, sesame and garlic. Each mouthful was different. The broth got more flavourful as the evening progressed due to the flavours from all the different ingredients in the boiling process.
For dessert, we finished the meal with green tea and red bean (who knew they could make something so tasty from beans!) ice cream and little fried buns with a delicious sugar glaze. A nice, refreshing ending to the meal for sure.
I have to say our meal was interesting. I think it would be a blast to get a group of friends or family together and head out for a slow, relaxing yet entertaining evening. Go hungry - there's lots of food. Take patience - you need to wait for it to cook. Go with an open mind and you're sure to enjoy!
Price for AYCE: Lunch $15.99, Dinner $21.99, Children (5 to 9) $10.99, Children under 4 free
Type: Full service, fine-dining.
What was there before?: Congee Dynasty
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