Updated on 11th July 2010: This restaurant had been closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
I had been getting a steady stream of visitors these days at work. This time it was Lauren who flew in from Atlanta for a few days for discussions and planning. These sort of planning sessions are usually grueling as we try to get as much plans agreed within the few available days. So we normally work through lunch most of the time. We would get someone to order in quick lunches like pizza, subs and Chinese take outs.
Since we were ahead on the agenda, I suggested that we take some time and for once go out for a proper lunch on the last day.
I suggested that we go to this new Japanese Hot Pot restaurant at the corner of Kingsway and Nelson — a place I had always wanted to go try. That restaurant is called Swish Swish. Most people driving past this busy intersection may not even notice Swish Swish. This is because it is unnecessarily obscured by pillars which serves no function and does nothing aesthetically to the building. I think it would do the building a world of good if they remove those ugly pillars.
Some of my team members were hesitant about going to this untested restaurant. Firstly this restaurant had been opened only for two months and none of us had ever been there before. Secondly, some of them were unsure if Lauren would be partial to having Asian hot pot knowing that most of our colleagues from the US are cautious about the type of Asian food we have here in Vancouver.
But Lauren insisted that she is excited to try it. So we went.
The interior layout is odd and in a semi-secular arrangement. It does look compact because you could not see to the end of the restaurant from one end. Actually, it does hold quite a number of tables.
The name Swish Swish is the literal translation from the word Shabu-shabu.
Here they serve two types of Japanese hot pots — shabu shabu or Sukiyaki. They are both hot pots … the main difference is in the type of broth served.
Sukiyaki’s soup base has more flavour because it is made with soya sauce and mirin while shabu-shabu’s broth is primarily water.
Swish Swish is actually an All You Can Eat Hot Pot place — or at least that is what they started off as.
Their AYCE is $12 for lunch while dinner is $16. The lunch and dinner AYCE is basically the same except that they have lamb available only for dinner. In the mid-afternoon, they give a $2 discount off the lunch menu price. I think that should qualify it as one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, AYCE hot pot in Vancouver.
However, we did not get the AYCE.
The AYCE would be too much food and will take too long to eat. Instead we had the Lunch Express which they had recently introduced to their menu.
I think it makes sense that they introduce this lighter version of the Japanese hot pot. Most of the lunch’ers around this area are office workers who have time only for quick lunches.
Besides the Sukiyaki hotpot, they provide rice and appetizers. You can opt for udon instead of rice if you want.
I suggest that you ask for rice. If you opt for rice on the side, they also have vermicelli in the hot pot. However, if you ask for Udon, the Udon is served in the hot pot (without vermicelli).
This is what I got … the Pork version. The Lunch Express came pre-cooked in a hot pot (unlike the AYCE, you get a burner with the pot of broth).
The Sukiyaki broth smell really good and the hotpot had lots of stuff in it. That includes baby corn, bamboo shoots, bean curd, bean sprouts, bok choi, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, shiitake mushroom, spinach, tofu, tofu puff, and vermicelli. With so many ingredients, it does feel like an AYCE, doesn’t it?
What I like about this is that they arrange all these ingredients nicely so that it does not clump up into a mish-mash of food until you don’t even know what you’re eating.
While I got the pork, most of the others got the lamb. You know, I had been reading in food blogs that people are opting for lamb a lot more than I noticed in the past. I am just thinking that people are looking for more variety beyond salmon, beef and chicken.
The seafood pot is the most expensive at $10. For an extra $1, you can choose beef, pork or lamb to go with the seafood.
These sort of lunches is perfect for the cold weather we had been getting. I enjoyed the lunch a lot. As a matter of fact, I finished off everything leaving not a morsel of food in the pot. It was that good. I am glad Lauren too did a great job clearing most of hers too.
I think Swish Swish is operated and owned by the same people who runs the Tomoya Sushi restaurant two doors away.
The bill came to only $62 for the six of us.
I hope to see Swish Swish successful but am thinking that the location does not do them a favour. Perhaps if someone removes the pillars, people will take notice of them more.