Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Hai Di Lao (Clarke Quay) | ThumbsForFood

There are many Chinese steamboat places in Singapore that originates from China. A famous steamboat chain in China that serves "Ma La Huo Guo" has arrived in Singapore! That is non other than Hai Di Lao that has opened more than 80 branches in all parts of China. As my friend has tried the one Beijing, she was excited and thrilled when she found out that it has opened in Clarke Quay.

Really, what's so unique about Hai Di Lao? It's really the AWESOME SERVICE which I will elaborate throughout the post! Hence, we made our way to Hai do Lao!

We arrived there at about 6.20pm, as you can see the waiting area was rather empty and there were flower garlands to congratulate on their opening!

Waiting Area

When we arrived, as we did not make reservations, we had to wait for an empty table. They have an automated queue number machine at the door. Once you get your queue number, the waitress will usher you to the waiting area where you can order your dishes from an IPad and drinks will be served to you.

Queue Number Machine

Look at the fruit and snacks platter that is refillable below! It helps to make the wait to enter the restaurant less tedious. You can even request for games like chess, and other board games to entertain yourselves while waiting.

And ladies, guess what? FREE MANICURE while waiting for your turn! You can even request to be placed in queue so that you can do your nails after dinner or while your boyfriend is enjoying his meal while you diet. We initially thought it is just simple express manicure. But, no! The manicurists remove your dead skin and give you a little hand massage, like a classic manicure.

Manicurists at work

For children, they even have a play corner where there are board games that the children can play amongst themselves and even a TV that show cartoons. Now, parents do not need to worry about the kids and have a good meal.

Play Area for children
You must be wondering how long must you wait without prior reservations and purely walk-in. It's about an hour or more depending on the people having their meal actually. They do not chase the customers or hurry them to finish the meal and leave the restaurant, so, it may take a longer time.

Having said so much about the impressive service even before we step into the restaurant, I will now introduce the actual dining in the restaurant!

The interior of the restaurant is spacious with appropriate space between each table that allows patrons to dine comfortably.

Interior of restaurant
There is 1 waitress that will serve 3-4 tables, so you have much attention from the staff. Soup base is priced at $16 and you get to choose two different flavours for your steamboat. We chose the Spicy base (Ma La). This spicy base is both spicy and numbing to the tongue! Be warned, don't add the whole bag of spice into the soup because it can be really numbing to the tongue. For those who can take spicy food and adore it, probably half a pack to 3/4 pack is sufficient.

Spices for Ma La Soup Base

Waitress serving us by placing food into our steamboat
We chose a non-spicy broth as well to balance the spiciness.

Two different soup bases
The ingredients of the steamboat is ala carte. Remember that if you have about 2-4 person, you might want to choose the option of half a portion on the menu when ordering.
The ingredients are fresh, especially the seafood. But a bit on the pricey side. We ordered beef, "xia hua" (prawn paste), vegetables, some dumplings, e.t.c. As you can see below. I did not take note of the individual pricing of each ingredient because I was too absorbed in eating! Haha. 3 of us spent about $35 each (inclusive of black bean soya milk).

Vegetables, dumplings

Beef, Xia Hua

Fresh Beef Slices
There were some ingredients that were not available yet because the restaurant is not opened full-scale because it lacks manpower. As it focuses a lot on it's service, it does not want to open full-scale without adequate waitresses and waiters to compromise on this very thing it lives up for.
We felt that even though the price of food is rather on the pricey side and definitely more expensive than in China, it is very worth it! Where do you find such great service and if you include the free flow fruits, variety of sauces that you can mix and match yourself and the manicure, it is more than worth the $35per pax that we paid!

Moreover, the quality of food is good and the ambience is great and comfortable for dining.

All in all, we will definitely be back! Especially when it is opened full scale and the full range of dishes is ready! We wouldn't mind the queue with such good service while waiting. But, if you're in a hurry, you might want to make reservations probably a week or two in advance! (Half-scale already need a week in advance).

Our ratings: 9/10
Must tries: Xia Hua (prawn paste); Black Soya Bean Milk (ask for recommendations!)

3D River Valley Road
#02-04 Clarke Quay
6337 8626/ 6337 8627


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