Simmer Huang is not for the fainted hearted. For the starters it helps tremendously if you are able to converse in Mandarin because the English skill of the staff is sketchy. That aside how the waiting staff conduct the service and how the chefs in the open plan kitchen are dressed doesn't particularly inspire confidence. They abruptly took away our menu on the table before we had chance to read it without explanation, they suddenly disappeared as we turned around to over a drink, they brought one fork to us when there were two of us dined, they possibly overcooked the meat as none of them noticed the pot was ferociously boiling. It was amusing at the beginning but became hard work when we couldn't see the humour side of it anymore. At one point, the girl in charge, who also happened to have a private birthday party for her family at the same time, yelled at a staff right in front of customers in Chines and left customers all puzzled and awkward.
Conceptually simmer pot is a good idea and probably a "steam boat" spin-off. But the food is all pre-cooked and packed in plastic containers and brought up to the table together with a sticky sauce. They basically chuck a large piece of fat, all vegetables and your chosen meat in a large pot and heat it up in front of your eyes. There are about 50 garlic cloves in the pot (yes we scooped every single one of them out and counted) and customers decide how spicy they would like to have the pot. It is a lot like a large pot of Irish stew with a lot of root vegetables and meat and nothing tasted outstanding. When we almost finished the meat, a type of hand-made noodles together with boiling water was added to the pot as a second course. The noodles were probably the best part of the meal to be honest.
We didn't feel particularly full or satisfied considering in total the meal was over $60 plus the cost of two beers. Our pork rib simmer pot cost $45 and the noodles and sides cost extra. It is neither cheap nor cheerful as far as Chinese food is concerned.