Picking a restaurant for a first date, or any date, can be tricky – how to choose somewhere that strikes the right balance of cool, informed and off-beat? Take a potential beau to The Boiling Pot, Sanlitun’s New Orleans-inspired seafood joint, and you’ll at least be on the money for a curveball pick.
The Boiling Pot also has the romantic recommendation of being a good ice breaker, the tools of destruction being the industrial lobster forks that you’re presented with upon ordering your shellfish, and the ensuing buttery battery of plastic gloves and crackable shells, which makes for a diverting dining experience. We must stress that this is where the romance of the place ends, giving way instead to a faint crabby aroma.
Said scent comes from good, fresh crab. The concept of The Boiling Pot is this: choose your crustacean (from a list including lobster, crab, mussels, shrimp and more), choose a sauce, chuck in some veg and wait for the lot to be delivered to you in a big plastic bag, swimming in salty butter. You then dig into this roughshod rock pool with your gloved hands and various metal implements, and crack on. Shellfish can be much mafan for very little meat; depending on how much you enjoy playing with your food, The Boiling Pot has either upped the hassle or the fun of a seafood dinner.
Sat next to the popular US dining spot Home Plate
, The Boiling Pot offers a welcome twist on American food in Beijing. Rather than all-out barbecue and burgers, the concept here is refreshingly focused. It’s seafood, in a bag, from New Orleans. Sides of Cajun chicken wings, sweet potato fries and the like back this up nicely. But at 238RMB for a lobster or crab to get you going, you probably want a little more Deep South atmosphere to make it worth your time.
By Amy Hawkins