The JPot steamboat concept isn't very different from Imperial Treasure's. Like Imperial Treasure, you get a whole bunch of condiments (sesame oil, chilli oil, soya sauce, chopped spring onions, peanut sauce and so on) to mix and blend your personalized dipping sauce (the fried crispy garlic is awesome!), and the soup bases incur a cost of their own. Also, the ingredients are equally fresh at both steamboat places, and the pricing is about the same as well. However, while I felt that Imperial Treasure wasn't worth the extra dollars, JPot seems a lot more value-for-money.
Thing is, JPot is a lot more adapted to the local palate than Imperial Treasure. The varied soup bases, including but not limited to bak kut teh, laksa, tom yum, duck with salted vegetable, silky porridge and XO fish head are all already local favourites well-loved by Singaporeans. It's like going to your favourite laksa stall and customizing it entirely to your every whim. Except that you get to do that to not just your favourite laksa stall, but your favourite porridge place and bak kut teh eatery, and so on. It is the unique yet familiar soup bases that justify its higher pricetag.
The localised steamboat soup bases are what sets JPot apart from my favourite traditional steamboat places like Thien Kee which serves chicken soup base and Nan Hwa Chong which serves fish head soup base. I will actually go back to JPot because I can foresee myself having cravings for some of their excellent soup stocks. Like how it is with Thien Kee and Nan Hwa Chong.
We had 3 soup bases to share among the 3 of us. Another thing about JPot is that their steamboat is portioned for 1 person, in order to give each diner their very own pot to deal with as they wish. But, we like to share and love that variety is the spice of life.
We had the classic JPot Superior Broth ($5.80) with a mix of both pork and chicken bones stewed for a very classic base stock. The lengthy simmering of this soup meant that it was already sweet enough to drink from the first serving. Because of its basic flavours, this was the one stock that went with everything.
The Laksa ($4.80) is one of my favourites, though not everything went with it. This was rich, spicy and creamy, extremely slurpworthy.
I loved the Silky Porridge ($3.80), a very watery and smooth rice gruel that was most pleasant and comforting. The rice grains have all been sifted out so this doesn't ever get burnt, right to the last drop. This has enough flavour to also eat from the get-go.
The freshly made Wanton ($5) went well with the superior broth. A lot of times, how good your steamboat ends up depends on whether you pair the right ingredients with the correct stock. Some ingredients just clash with the stock. I will state which ingredients go well with which stock. Of course, this is all based on my peculiar tastebuds and preferences, so if you like fishballs in your porridge, please go ahead!
We loved that a quail's egg was provided to coat the meats. The Marinated Chicken ($4.50)was juicy and succulent. I think oil was used to marinate this for that smooth slippery texture. This went with all of the stocks.
The Marinated Beef ($4.50) reeked of artificial tenderizer taste, we didn't finish this. We might try the wagyu instead the next time.
The Marinated Pork ($4.50) was tender and moist, this also went well with all of the soups.
The Hand-made Fish Balls ($4.50) were bouncy and roughly textured, with a most pleasant bite. This went well with the superior broth and laksa soup.
The rehydrated Dried Fish Maw ($11) were really good paired with the superior broth and the laksa. Its spongy texture helped soak up the delicious soup bases.
This was the Hubs' choice, Luncheon Meat ($0.80 for 2 pcs) that went well with the laksa.
The Mushroom Combination ($12.80) with enoki, shitake, shimeiji, king oyster, white oyster, was brilliant paired with everything.
We got another portion of the White Oyster ($4.50) to lend a more rounded woodsy flavour to the porridge.
The Local Lettuce ($3.80) went well with the laksa and superior broth.
The Japanese Beancurd ($2), very smooth and wobbly and smooth, went well with the laksa and superior broth. Especially the laksa because its plainess contrasted well with the richness of the laksa.
Braised Peanuts ($2) were provided as starters. This had a more nutty taste, with less braising compared to traditional Cantonese restaurants.
1 Harbourfront Walk
Tel: 6273 3536
Open daily from 12noon to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 11pm for dinner