Haidilao’s food isn’t really all that special to nearby competitor Memory Tongue. The meats are good quality, and there are plenty of soup bases and sauces to choose from. It fits firmly one tier below Market City’s The Dolar Shop both in price and the availability of truly premium cuts of meat, however on equal standing with other more upper echelon offerings.
I appreciated the communal style hot pot divided into portions based on soup base, as well as the electronic tablet-based ordering system. While the electronic ordering system helps to bridge language barriers and reduce the need for imagination with its photos of each menu item, I found that in this particular situation it did not achieve the third desired effect of minimising human contact with the wait staff.
I must preface this by saying that I have absolutely no complaints about our host, who was polite, courteous, and friendly. What I did not enjoy was the overbearing, helicopter style service, which made me feel watched and uncomfortable. Our waiter’s impeccable attention to detail was more of a hindrance than a help. His hawk eyes would not allow us to pour our own prune juice. He was extremely capable of keeping track of when we were sipping prune juice and would top up our glasses after almost every swig. There is a very thick line between good service and being too up in one’s face, and I think that despite any good intentions he may have had this crosses it.
The food was good, but in the interest of keeping my choppers on the helipad I probably won’t be coming back. Some people probably like it. I didn’t.
Shop 607/1 Anderson St, Chatswood NSW 2067
(02) 9411 2006