Rolling Pot (Hot Pot - by Pacific Mall) Review
I was at Rolling Pot on Friday (Nov 2). I was there after 10pm. I had their regular dinner, no seafood.
Dinner - 13.99 no seafood; 15.99 with seafood
Late night - 11.99, but no lamb, less items, no free pop.
Surcharge: 10% tip is added; $1.50 extra for weekends and Fridays
The service was not great. You are supposed to write your order on pre-printed order forms. They forgot my orders a few times (ie. stuff simply didn't arrive), and apparently their servers can't tell the difference between their own meats as I got pork instead of the lamb I ordered. Also, I can't say the servers were all that polite or attentative - they looked like they were a bunch of know-nothing teens.
I ordered the regular (no extra charge) winter melon soup base and the medium spicy special soup base (sichuan style) for an extra charge. The winter melon base was average, but the spicy one was just below average. The pot was too shallow, and the various spices would get easily tangled up with the meat. Also, the flavour was simply not quite right. The various non-meat items were good (reasonably fresh and decent quality), with their shrimp wontons being excellent (fresh and tasty). The selection was also average.
As for the meats, the quality was also good in terms of the taste and texture. The portion per order was small, but you can order more than one portion at a time. The meat was also fresh - ie. non-frozen. I cannot tell whether the meat had been frozen, but based on the thickness of the slices and the fact that there wasn't an abundance of moisture on the plate on which the meat was served (ie. from the melting), it looks like the meat was cut from un-frozen pieces.
The sauces, which were located at a do-it-yourself station, were a disappointment. While the variety was reasonable, there were various empties which were not filled throughout my meal. Also, the quality of the sauce ingredients was questionable. For example, the chopped garlic was bathed in oil, and the sa-cha (chinese bbq sauce) was not so tasty and quite oily (I expect quality similar to bottled stuff from Bull-Head Brand Sa-Cha).
The sanitation was highly suspect to dangerous. The tables were sticky after being wiped; the chairs had food on it. The sauce station was rather messy (sauce spilled everywhere) and the "clean" sauce bowls did not all look properly washed. What was most disturbing was the floor - some places were sticky, but other places were wet and highly slippery and hazardous. That being said, the food and the plates on which the food was served did not have any visible problems.
AVERAGE - This place is NOT the best. Overall, the food was above average at best, but nothing except for their wontons was special in any way. The service was below average and the cleaniness was poor - those floors were terrible, and frankly I don't like seeing pieces of meat on my chair. The pricing was also typical of hotpot places around town. And while it was nice that this place was open late (2am on Friday), it didn't make up for its weaknesses. To be honest, this wasn't really a place worth trying if you are searching for the "best" or even just "better".
iCook is decent - it's at Warden & Steeles, in the same plaza as the T&T. It is clean, has decent soup bases, good selection of foods, and good self-serve sauces. It's a buffet-style place where you go get ur own hotpot foods, which is what I find to be the preferable way of doing hotpot. Waiting for the servers really sucks, and often they don't bring enough of what you ordered (deliberately, at times) or they bring too much.