If Maggie Joan's was one of 2017's best eats, Crystal Jade Steamboat would be a contender for 2017's worst eats. Touted as the deluxe steamboat option of the Crystal Jade Group, the casual hotpot eatery was terribly abysmal. And no where close to being premium or high-end as purported. The food was less than sparkling fresh, the ingredients were blah, and the soup bases lacked depth and flavour. It was like eating at the home of someone who didn't quite know how to cook, and threw together a steamboat party at the last minute, with foods bought from the clearance aisle at the supermarket.
Suffice it to say, we didn't finish our meal.
We got the Meat Steamboat Set ($58) with a dual base of Superior Broth and Szechuan Spicy Soup. There was nothing superior about the insipid broth, and while the fiery-looking soup had heat, it was weak and the taste, superficial.
A trio of meats, Beef, Kurobuta Pork, and Chicken, was included as part of the set. They were fresh enough, but unremarkable.
Also part of the set were Assorted Handmade Meatballs of the squid, prawn, dace fish and meat variety. The balls were lacking in heft, pulverised, and sans a chunky texture.
The Vegetable Basket, with cabbage, baby cabbage, chinese cabbage, enoki mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, corn on the cob, glass vermicelli, and silky beancurd, were garden-variety pedestrian.
The Deep-Fried Beancurd Skin was still frozen when they arrived, but quickly unraveled in the bubbling soup.
We supplemented with a little seafood, Grouper and Prawns ($28.80), which were so-so, and run-of-the-mill.
The Quail's Eggs ($7.80) were boiled solid. We would have preferred them soft-boiled a la Hai Di Lao, and not cooked through to a hard mass.
The Fish Skin ($6.80), dripping with oil, was both rock-hard and chewy. It'd obviously gone soft but was re-fried in a clumsy attempt to re-crisp it.
The appetizer of Braised Peanuts ($2.50) was perhaps the best thing about the meal, soft and swimming in a lovely braise.
Crystal Jade Steamboat
20 Ah Hood Road #01-18
Zhong Shan Mall
Tel: 6339 0283