Godbrother wanted to take me out for dinner to make up for missing the wedding~ I was craving hot pot for the longest time, and he suggested Shabu Shabu Ice Bar. It is the popular place for hot pot because of the individual pots, huge variety of soups and great shaved ice dessert. But also not so popular to some because of how pricey it is. I went with my bro & gf (Li), godbrother & gf (J) on a Saturday evening.
I was surprised at how big (and clean) looking this place was. Hot pot places are usually a little dingy and not so “shiny”.
Every seat has their own little “hole” where the mini pots go into and the dial to control the heating is on the panel in front of the table ledge.
I loved their sauce island. It had over a different dozen condiments so one can concoct their own dipping sauce. I like having some light soy, green onions, cilantro, lime and fresh chili in my dip for hot pot (not to mention ketchup if i find any!)
Menu has a range or large sets (enough for 2), mini sets (for 1), side orders, meat plates, seafood plates, desserts, drinks and a page for different soups.
Large set B (Chicken) BND$12
There is a nice variety of vegetable in the sets, which Li really enjoyed. Personally I am not crazy bout greens and enjoy only the mushroom bits.
The chicken was so thinly sliced that it didn’t even taste like chicken. You don’t really taste anything actually.
Tom Yam Soup BND$2 – Soup was light to begin w (as expected) so it got really nice after the pot was boiling for over half hour to cooking all kinds of ingredients in it. It was not salty to begin with, so by the end of the meal – it reduced and was just right!
Other soups we got were :
Tomato Soup (Godbro’s favourite) BND$2.50 – this was quite strange to me
Miso Soup (his Gf’s favourite) BND$3 – Just like you regular miso soup but a bit watered down (as expected)
Chicken soup BND$1.50 – Light and perfect for the “beginners”.
Sliced really nice and thin, so after barely hitting the hot broth it was a perfect tender piece of meat.
I ordered this out of curiousity. It actually just taste like beef or any dark meat. I was quite disappointed because I expected a little gaminess to it. $6.50 is a little steep for these paper thin slices of meat.
I love lamb and so I just had to order this. Usually I enjoy a bit of fat on my lamb pieces but this was over 50% fat – making the price tag of $6.50 quite ridiculous. I needed more meat n less fat.
Mixed Seafood BND$8.50
Other than the sets, the seafood platters were actually priced fairly reasonably. I got 6 large shrimps, a handful of clams, couple scallops, crabs sticks and snails.
The shrimp was so fresh & sweet with delicious roe in their heads~ The scallop & clams were not as fresh as I would have liked but still ok. The snails were just entertaining to eat and did not taste like much. It actually comes w mussels and when I requested for them to replace it with the snails, the server was really accomodating.
We ordered way too much food for our sides, since only my brother ordered the mini set. I actually have individual shots of these orders but they added up to a total off almost 18 small plates so lets just pick few~
BND$1.50 sides that we ordered were:
Char Kueh – $1.50 for that? Well, chewy hard char kueh. What more can I say.
Lobster Cuttlefish ball – Yummy balls with nice texture and very tasty (w/o being fishy)
Enoki Mushrooms,Corn, Broccoli
Seafood Sandwich (2) – This was strange but good. It was like a fancy harder seafood ball but in square form.
Dory Fish Fillet – I didn’t try this
Scallop Seafood Tofu (2) – My favourite of the night, I ate bout 6 of them! Nice subtle seafoody flavour, almost fishball but softer texture coz of the tofu.
Four Colour Roll – Fancy type of fish cake with nice hints of seaweed & crabmeat. This was pretty good but they don’t stay intact long in the pot.
Fish Cake (2) - Fish cake was good and fresh tasting (as fresh as fish paste gets).
Sotong Roll – I found this just weird. it was quite rubbery and had hints of squid. I rather have cuttlefish balls.
Seafood Fried Tofu - This is very similar in taste and texture to the scallop seafood tofu. I prefer the scallop version because it was a little softer.
Most of the sides are $1.50 except the ones with fresh fish pastes, vegetarian Mock meat and noodles.
BND$2 sides that we ordered were:
Fresh Won Ton – The fresh wontons were not looking so hot. But they tasted ok~ Some would complain for the lack of filling, but I usually like wontons for the skin so I was fine w it.
Lady fingers w Fish meat paste – $2 for 3 pieces is not cheap… and the fish paste was just ok.
2 orders of dry noodles BND$0.50 - These are just the instant noodle type thin yellow noodles.
Mango Shaved Ice (L) BND$6
The little balls were so interesting! They popped in the mouth and leaves an intense mango flavour. The shaved ice itself was really good. This is mango intense and very refreshing after all that hot soup! This was enough to be shared by 4 ppl~
Total Damage: ~BND $110 (about $20-$25 per person)
Personal Rating: 3.25 out of 5. (Pretty darn good)
it is definitely not cheap especially the side orders. They add up really quickly and before you know it, you are presented with a pretty hefty bill. There is a wide variety of choices, which is great! There is definitely a set for everyone – with about over a dozen large sets, over a dozen mini sets and other combination platters.
If you want to sample a bit of everything, the large or mini sets are the best way to go. Oh, but you have to pay additional for the soup even if you pick the sets. The pricing for the sets are more reasonable than the single plate orders of meat or seafood.
Service was actually very absent considering the number of people they have working. Good thing, they just had to drop things off and you cook them yourself. I was missing a spoon and it took me over 5 mins trying to get one from a guy over the counter.
Most items are pretty fresh tasting, some not so much but I guess you can’t always win. All in all, a good option for a nice hot pot meal~
Ice Bar & Cafe Shabu Shabu
1st floor, Kiulap Plaza Hotel,
Bandar Seri Begawan
Tel: 673 223 3031