Suanne and I never learn. We know that we almost always end up regretting having AYCE (All You Can Eat) and yet we go back again and again.
We had always passed by this place with the bright yellow signboards each time we go to Alexandra Road. They have the brightest signboard along Alexandra for sure. The name too — I can’t quite figure out what it really means. It is called Point Zero Four Fusion … it could mean to read as Point Zero, Four Fusion or .04 Fusion. Whatever it is, the tagline says that they serve Beijing Style Cuisine.
The place is large and takes up the space of three normal shop lots. The decor is tacky as expected. The tables were raised a few inches off the ground because of the gas pipings to each table. See the legs of the chairs … they even had to have the legs extended. Pipings or not, I think they did not maintain them because some of the built in stoves did not work. Ours didn’t work and they used a portable burner instead.
Service is rude. Should I say service is rude by western standards. Not everyone can stand for this but Suanne and I learned to look away from this. They are rude as in not making eye contact, giving mono-syllabic answers, grabbing utensils in a haste … you know. I believe they think they are projecting a professional and efficient image but buddy, that it rude here in this part of the world. Smile … please … because that translates to tips, dum-dum.
You got to ask for the 2-page order form in English. By default they hand you one in Chinese.
The Hot Pot AYCE is $18 per person. What is not stated is the “extras” … the soup base is an extra charge. The soup base ranges from the no frills $5 pork soup to $15 drunken chicken. There is quite a variety to choose from. The Dips and Sauces are free for the first order. They will charge 50 cents for the second order.
You can upgrade the AYCE Hot Pot to include BBQ Skewers (another of their specialty) for an extra $6. We thought it is a bit too much having Hot Pot AND BBQ Skewers.
Looking at their faces, they are of no help to us in deciding our order. We ended up ordering almost one of every item.
The “suen moi tong” drinks are a deal. The above is just $1 per person with unlimited refills. Cynical as we are, we thought the reason it is so cheap is because they wanted us to fill up with water instead of the more expensive meat items.
I made a mistake asking question about exactly what this is made of. The waitress just blurted, while turning her back to me and walk away, “for drinking”. Oh please … I know that. There goes your tips, baby.
The soup base we selected was the Szechuan. They were spicy hot. I got to hand it to them … they smell absolutely marvelous and fragrant. There are a lot of spices in the soup base … especially with the lips numbing peppercorns. Nice.
They were MSG laden too as we confirmed after the meal. We were thirsty.
At least it was all thinly sliced and does shrink a lot once it is cooked.
Round two was the seafood. The same strategy applies … we ticked every single item. We did not opt for the Geoduck because it was $12 extra … per dish!
Actually they smell very fishy. I can picked up a waft of it when it was brought to the table. It was not stale or rotten or anything like that. It had a smell of a fish market.
But once cooked, it should be OK.
Anyway, the strong fragrant soup base overpowered any fishiness once the seafood is in the pot. Absolutely loved the soup base. It was really good during the meal. It was the after effect from the MSG that is not so good. As much as the soup base is important to the hot pot, equally as important is the …