What is your favorite food to eat when it’s cold? For me, I love hotpot, be it -20C or 20C outside, I will always love my hotpot. For those who don’t know what hotpot is, hotpot is a combination of different types of meat and vegetable which you dip in a boiling soup. Usually eating with 2 persons and more. It’s a meal to be share among friends and family and it also provide a good opportunity for bonding, because you need to dig in to fish your favorite meat/vegetable before it gets eaten by other people. Hotpot is usually eaten at home, but there are restaurant who specialize in hotpot. There is also a variety of hotpot: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, etc. Their differences are in the soup, I guess, but this post is not to explain the differences.
I had the chance to return to a restaurant specialize in shabu shabu, Japanese hotpot, with my cousin in law. This is my favorite place for Japanese hotpot.
Kagayaki is located in Montreal’s Chinatown, on West of de la Gauchetiere Street, on the second floor, therefore you have to look closely or you will miss it. Upon entering, you will be seated at the U shaped table with high chairs, in front of you there is a hole in which they will place a little pot for dipping. You have the option of the U shaped table or they have the table on the side which are lower on the floor. The place is very clean, which is rare when you think about Chinatown (not saying that the entire Chinatown is dirty, but you know what I mean when you visit the area frequently).
Lunch time or supper time, the service is always very quick. After you are seated, they will bring you the menu for you to choose and usually after 5-10 minutes your order will come out. The staffs there are very nice, we usually get the chef when there aren’t a lot of customer, but the other staffs are as quick and polite as the owner of the place. I seriously never had any bad experiences with the staffs since day one and that is pretty rare for a restaurant in Chinatown.
Since it’s a hotpot, you have the choice of meat, seafood or vegetarian. Every hotpot come with a set of vegetable, tofu and udon noodle. You also have a various option of soup to choose from (my favorite one is spicy, beware it is SPICY!!) Along with your order, you usually have the soya and/or peanut sauce and a small bowl of rice. The end of the meal end with a scoop of green tea ice cream (lunch time, table d’hôte has more options). What you see in the picture is mostly what you get at lunch time, they usually give a little bit more for supper/ table d’hôte. The meat and vegetable are always fresh and delicious. The meat portion is a bit small though, it usually come with around 6-7 pieces of meat. The soup is still very consistance in it taste, always as delicious.
I have always love this place, the quality and neatness is always there, which is good because when you have quality you have to keep the consistency. The taste is always the same, but I must say that their portion has reduce quite a lot. As someone who love hotpot, I was left still a bit hungry after my lunch. There use to have a little bit more variety of vegetables and a bit more meat, a few slices more, but the price has gone up a bit and the portion has slim down a bit. Meat has become more expensive, but I don’t mind paying a little bit more and have the same portion. Overall, I still love the place because the taste and quality are still the same. The only complain would be the portion’s size. I would still recommend this place if you want to try out Japanese style hotpot, but go for lunch, it is a bit less expensive and for trying it would be the good size.