Global Chinese-Macanese hotpot chain Dolar Shop is in Haymarket’s Market City 1909 Dining Precinct.
The 200-plus-seat flagship is opulent, with plenty of marble, sleek gold finishes, and splashes of royal blue and burnt orange. If you’re rolling with a large group you can book one of the three private dining rooms. The high-end fit-out was very deliberate; the owners believe the standard of hotpot places in Sydney is much lower than it is in China. They’re here to take it to the next level.
A hotpot meal starts with choosing a broth. There are six flavours – the most popular is pork bone, mushroom and spicy Szechuan. During the meal your stock will be topped up if it runs low. You can add up to 25 condiments and sauces from a self-serve bar – things such as fried garlic, corn, peanut sauce, soy and XO.
Then it’s time to select the ingredients you will dunk into your bowl of soup that simmers on a hot plate at your table. Playing to Sydney’s strength of having access to quality seafood, Dolar Shop offers big eye ocean perch, shrimp pate (a ball of minced prawns with water chestnut and celery), Australian greenlip abalone and, from a live tank, snow crab and Tasmanian red lobster.
There’s also boneless short ribs, M6+ to M9+ score Wagyu served over ice (and sometimes with the theatrics of dry ice), vegetables, and a large array of fungus and handmade noodles. There’s also duck blood and no fewer than three types of beef tripe.
Aside from the usual soft drinks, the focus is on herbal teas and fresh juice – orange, watermelon, plum or kumquat with lemon – and there are some well-known wines, such as Henschke and Lake’s Folly.