Any lovers of a good Korean barbecue or a Thai hot pot will simply get the best of both worlds here. Moo Krata is the brainchild of Thai restaurant entrepreneur Fah Sundravorakul, whose Shuang Shuang hot pot restaurant on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue has been causing a bit of a stir, if you’ll forgive the pun.
Hot pot cuisine is essentially a deep pot of bubbling broth divided into two sides where you drop in various meat, veg and noodles to cook. In Shuang Shuang there is a conveyor belt of chargeable goodies that can be picked off and added to your pot.
Moo Krata resides upstairs from Shuang Shuang. It might be temporary for 6 months, it might be permanent. It all depends on how the British public take to this new concept. As Fah explains to me as my dining partner and I settle in to our table astride a desktop barbecue. “In Thailand, this type of cooking is how the locals really eat. I vividly remember eating this with my family as a child, waiting impatiently while the meat sizzles on the grill.”
The Moo Krata centrepiece is a moat of hot broth encircling a grill dome at its centre. The first thing to do is pick one of three broth varieties. Black Bird made from black chicken and Chinese wolfberries, a spicy Tom Yum made using prawn, chicken and chilli or a simple clear chicken broth. We pick Tom Yum specifically for the chilli hit.
Then, a choice of one from a trio of available dipping sauces is the next task; hot and sour, lime and chilli or Moo Krata (our choice) made with miso, mirin wine, mooli radish, potato, ginger and garlic.
Finally, we get to decide on our choice of either beef or pork for the barbecue. The meat comes in three ways; marinated, black pepper and rib eye, while for the pork, substitute rib eye for pork belly.
Both meat choices come with a basket of enoki and oyster mushrooms, cabbage, choi sum and udon noodles all of which disappear into the bubbling broth to cook.
Pretty soon our grill dome is sizzling away with our three cuts of pork accompanied by our bubbling moat of veg and noodles. The aromas are intoxicating, the food very tasty.
Like its older sibling downstairs, a conveyor belt of extra goodies rumbles past, each one a temptation. I reach out for a few pork balls and drop them in the broth, followed by a basket of pak choi, some tofu and some egg noodles just for the fun.
Far from sounding like hard work, I find it a really fun way to engage in this type of cuisine. It’s a fresh and healthy way to eat at your own pace without letting your ingredients congeal on a plate.
That said, i’m not convinced Moo Krata is the kind of place you can sit and spend a relaxing two hours. It’s more of a drop in, have some tasty food and drop out again type of eatery. Perhaps pre or post theatre.
Will I go back? I sure will. Bring on that broth!
All images (c) Andy Mossack
Tell me more about Moo Krata Thai BBQ and Hot Pot
Moo Krata Thai BBQ and Hot Pot, (above Shuang Shuang) 64 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 6LU
Tel: 020 7734 5416
The beef Moo Krata is £35 including the vegetable basket. The pork Moo Krata is £30. This is for two people and includes the vegetable basket.
Conveyor belt prices range from £1.20 to £4.50 per dish depending on ingredients.