David Adamson needs a helping hand at the Hot Pot spot

What: Mr Zhang's Kitchen 

Where: 8-10 Myrtle St, L7 7DP

Food/ Drink type: Sichuan hot pot 

When: Mon - Fri: 11am - 9pm // Sat and Sun: 12pm - 10pm

Independent or chain: Independent

2024 04 26 Mr Zhangs Exterior
Outside Mr Zhang's Kitchen Image: Confidentials

I usually find restaurants to review by a few different means.

No.1: we're a curious bunch at Confidentials, and have been at this for over 20 years, so the collective antenna is finely tuned and sensitive to all the rumblings around the restaurant game.  

No.2: it's a new place. These are easy enough to find, as they tend to make themselves known to anyone with most of their teeth still in their mouth.

No.3: someone recommends a restaurant with a sort of cultish fervour, so you're intrigued to see if they're onto something. 

No.4: a bizarre magical mystery tour through the nooks and crannies of a part of town, a wandering reconnaissance that always throws up a few interesting suggestions. 

So what kind of hack would visit a restaurant off a recommendation from a wildly popular podcast? This hack would. 

So I took the word of Mowgli mogul Nisha Katona on Off Menu and paid a visit to Mr Zhang's Kitchen for "a great place to go for hot pot". Sometimes it's best not to overthink these things.

2024 04 26 Mr Zhangs Interior 3
Inside Mr Zhang's Kitchen Image: Confidentials


Just round the corner from Hope Street, Mr Zhang's Kitchen is exactly that sort of place that, having whiled away the afternoon in one of the many fantastic pubs around that way, you decide with friends that you're all ravenous. 

Divided up into two restaurants, the hot pot spot upstairs and the more varied menu served downstairs, the place seems to have all bases covered. Just be sure to visit your local cashpoint first. 

Inside, it's the sort of unpretentious and fuss-free layout that clearly understands the food is what's of paramount importance, but of course with a few embellishments like Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling and a pleasant colour palette. 

What makes up just as much of the feel of the place, though, is the near-constant fog of steam coming from the hot pot bowls being delivered to the tables. Time to tuck in.

2024 04 26 Mr Zhangs Interior 4
Inside Mr Zhang's Kitchen Image: Confidentials

The Main Event

The joy of places like this is there's no faffing around, you know what you're here for and so do they. It's the hot pot. The only consideration is what type of base and what's going in it. This pretty much does away with the tyranny of choice that can plague Chinese cuisine. What a relief. 

I went for a half and half of the straight up bone broth base and Mr Zhang's special spicy base, making the best use of that handy little divider that splits the pot and gives you plenty of variations.

2024 04 26 Mr Zhangs Hot Pot Pre
The broths Image: Confidentials

To be honest the broths looked pretty appetising already with spring onions, Chinese dates and Sichuan peppercorns simmering away, but I chose the pork slices, oyster mushrooms, baby Chinese lettuce and fresh noodles. With it all laid out in front and the pot on a roil, all that was left was to send them all sinking into the spicy depths. 

2024 04 26 Mr Zhangs Hot Pot Ingredients
The ingredients ready to be submerged Image: Confidentials

Once added to the infernal and beautifully scented broth, the pork slowly cooked and unfurled to reveal the fat that unshamedly ran through each slice, and which would only add more layers of complex flavour. They were equally delicious in both the fiery, numbing waters of the special spicy broth, as well as the subtler, marrowy warming tang of the bone broth. 

Baby Chinese lettuce and oyster mushrooms are both great examples of those Trojan Horse vegetables. Seemingly a simple gift to the makeup of your dish, and apparently harmless enough, they have been steeped in the fires of more than a few powerful spices, and don't they let you know it. My lips numbed and tingled and the junkie-like jangling for more, and more, set in. 

It's hard to know when to feel full with this dish, because in reality you don't want to fill up. Just bring the kettle and keep it coming. But then all things must come to an end. And for £40 - which in reality would be split between two - and a Tsingtao lager, I'd say you would happily start it all again sooner than you'd think.

2024 04 26 Mr Zhangs Pot Closeup
The Hot Pot in action Image: Confidentials
2024 04 26 Mr Zhangs Clear Beef Broth
Bone broth Image: Confidentials
2024 04 26 Mr Zhangs Hot Spicy
Special spicy broth Image: Confidentials

Judgement Day 

Ultimately this meal isn't made for one. If anything two people could maybe even end up leaving leftovers. But if a Sichuan Hot Pot is all that will truly satisfy you then sod it, pull up a seat and dive into it with abandon, a rampant appetite and a ladle. Cheers Nisha. 

Mr Zhang's Kitchen, 8-10 Myrtle St, L7 7DP

2024 04 26 Mr Zhangs Interior 1
Mr Zhang's Kitchen Image: Confidentials
  • Food 8.5/10

    Sichuan hot pot 8.5

  • Service 4/5

  • Ambience 3.5/5