Nanzo Shabu Shabu Restaurant is located in the Ground Floor of De Garden, nearby Oh Sushi, directly opposite the closed down Strawberry Moments. Or should I get straight to the point, occupying the same lot as Ding Fung previously. Nothing much has changed, even the individual induction hot pots remained the same. Perhaps the most obvious change was the mural paintings on the wall depicting a carnivorous Viking with his beer.
We were drawn here by this poster. They are currently having set lunch on weekdays only I presume, since they didn't mention clearly the terms and condition nor the time. Price is RM15.30 nett, though I believe its based on RM13.90 + RM1.40 (10% service charge) calculation. Hence we were deeply annoyed when we arrived at 12:40pm and found that the shop is half lit, chairs still placed on the table, air conditioned not switched on. When inquired, we found out that their OFFICIAL business hour starts at 1pm. At first I really salute them for having the ideas for resolving into lunch sets instead of buffet during lunchtime as most of us are not interested to cramp a buffet meal in a 1 hour lunchtime. And considering that most of the office lunch hours are either from 12-1pm, 12:30 to 1:30pm (mine) and some might be 1-2pm, wouldn't it be absurd to only get ready for business around 1pm+?
To be honest, we did not really enjoyed the meal due to the rushing factor. Preparations of the ingredients took about 15 minutes after we were ushered to our seats, in other words, we only started cooking our food at 1:10pm. Groans... so each of us ordered a different main course set: the Chicken Set, Lamb Set and Beef Set. You may skip the chicken though as the slices of thighs are not so suitable for Syabu Syabu style. Though skimpy, the thin beef and lamb slices are more appropriate and holds true to the 10 second rule of "dipping" it into the boiling soup. Some may even go for the 5 second rule. No preference whether the lamb or beef is better, just take my advice, skip the chicken.
No matter what meat you order, they ensure that you are fully filled by a standard platter of mixed sides. You get a piece or two of nearly everything they can offer. ALMOST everything. But mostly processed frozen food: fish balls, sotong sticks, crab claw sticks, prawn balls, sausages, prawn balls. For the fiber, you are given some cabbage, enoki mushrooms, yam, cherry tomatoes (!!!).... and an egg for protein. I had the egg "poached" at the end, only to turn out to be hard boiled. So besides the individual plate of meat shown earlier, typically you wont find any "real" meat in the mixed platter. Just surimi based food.
The "balls" and "sticks" (sounds obscene huh?) really gets you filled up in no time. If that doesn't, the portion of noodles (4 types to choose from - egg noodles, spinach noodles, instant noodles and vermicelli). The vermicelli goes very well with the hot stock. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that they have 2 soup base to choose from - Miso or Spicy. The Miso is a bit bland and clear in appearance - more like "ching tong" as they claim they it is MSG free and don't use any meat or bones to get the cloudy stock, only yellow beans. The Spicy, I reckon, is just using the Miso based, added with chilli paste, which is also served as a dipping sauce. The dip really give a punch - from the blended condiments - I noticed garlic, parsley/mint and spring onions with lime juice. However, they didn't look into fixing other dips like the bean paste sauce/ Sar Zha cheong or sesame oil or peanut based dip like Ding Fung did to cater for those who do not opt for spicy sauce. If you cannot take hot dipping sauce, pray that the free flow of green tea can save you.
The lunch set is a sample of what they got to offer in their dinner buffet. But honestly, I am not impressed. Besides the thin slices of meat, the other ingredients are mainly generic frozen food which is not much worth to tally to their price tag. Hopefully they have REAL fish slices (hopefully is pomfret or grouper and not Dory, better still NOT fish balls), REAL sotong rings (and not sotong sticks or balls), REAL crab (not crab sticks) and REAL prawns (not prawn flavoured fish balls). After all, you are charging RM38.80! And that's with 10% service charge, bringing it to RM40+. Now this annoys me again, why do you need service charge for a buffet? Isn't it self service? And isn't food preparation labour cost be included in your food price? And I hope you have noticed it by now, there is NO PORK in this restaurant. Can you imagine Syabu Syabu without pork? If you ask me, it's like a "no fish rule" in a Japanese Restaurant. No pork to attract Muslim customers? Come on, you are serving beer... There is no Halal certification involved, so do us customer some justice and include the pork like how Ding Fung previously did!
Since we are already late from lunch, it doesn't really matter if we are even slightly later. Hehehe... not that we do it often. Take away ChaTime to wrap up an IDEAL WEDNESDAY. Mine is the 3rd cup - the one with grass jelly by default and with additional toppings of acclaimed carcinogenic black pearls. I don't really spend on such overpriced drinks which has not much difference than the ones in pasar malam. Like my colleague said, it was indeed a rare sight. Signing off, the next posting will be on mooncakes! Happy weekend!