The Gist: Six-hour Chinese soups paired with the finest in dippable additions
The Chef: Joseph Nie
Location: 30 Beauchamp Pl, London, SW3 1NJ
Food in 5 words: Broth, sauce, noodles, meat, go
See more: hotmay.co.uk
How did we get here?
Originally from the northern Chinese province of Harbin, debut restaurateur Joseph Nie has gone all out in affluent West London with Hot May, a glamorously designed restaurant inside a three-storey townhouse that focuses on the centuries old Chinese dish, hot pot.
Food Spark previously highlighted high-end hot pots as an upcoming trend to watch, with Hot May looking to add to the popularity of Asian broths in London (the likes of Japanese ramen noodle soups and Vietnamese pho having been big hits of late). Hot May have based their restaurant model around Northern Chinese cuisine with both authenticity and luxury championed by Nie, who spent years eating his way around China, fuelling his passion by sampling every variety of regional hot pot.
“I always wanted to create a unique and contemporary Chinese hot pot experience, my focus being on sourcing the finest raw ingredients possible, creating the best broths and enjoying it all in a seriously stunning situation,” said Nie.
“It’s the ultimate interactive social eating experience… sharing, discussing and enjoying this ancient and historically interesting way of eating.”
Nie oversees the kitchen at Hot May – and has trained every chef in his brigade in the art of the hot pot personally). The space boasts bespoke printed wallpaper, illuminated green glass panels, leather booths and statement brass lamps.
What’s different about it?
Every table at Hot May is fitted with its own burner for individual hot pots, which come in three distinct broths: clear chicken, oxtail and vegetable. All are left to simmer for six hours between initial preparation and serving.
Having chosen a broth (each of which is theatrically poured from an antique metal teapot), diners have a choice of four dipping sauces, including the sesame-based Hot May master sauce. Diners then pick from an array of meat and fish to complete their hot pot, which is kept at optimum temperature throughout by the bespoke burners.
The options include marbled Wagyu beef, from full-blood Scottish Highland cattle to M4 and M6 striploin, as well as a range of different seafood, such as razor clams, squid balls and abalone.
Two vegetarian sets (garden or tofu) and freshly made rainbow noodles complete the a la carte hotpot selection.
Sashimi and salads dominate the starters, with a Masterclass tasting menu (£55pp) available to those looking for a guided experience.
You’ve got to try…
The choice seafood platter of abalone, razor clam, scallop squid ball, prawn cake, seabass and kingfish. Submerge the lot in the clear chicken broth and dip the cooked foods in seafood sauce.
Sparkie also likes…
Hot May’s Wagyu beef pancakes: freshly made Chinese pancakes filled with minced Wagyu beef, cabbage and red onion. It’s one of the restaurant’s four signature dishes, alongside seafood meatballs, sea cucumber and geoduck sashimi (which arrives at the table live).
You’re a fan of authentic Asian broths and have a decadent disposition.