Growing up in a Chinese household, you tend you get fed some weird and wonderful things - cubed pig's blood, pig ears and sea cucumber to name a few. Thankfully for me, hot pot (while not being that weird) was also one of those things.
We were lucky enough to have a electric hot pot at home (which isn't unlike an electric frypan really) - it was a garish green colour on the outside and would be placed in the middle of the dinner table, with an assortment of meat, seafood, vegetables and noodles sitting around it just waiting to be cooked. I remember the worst thing being how long it took for the broth to heat back up after you'd dropped some pork or seafood in (mum and dad said the water had to boil again before it was good to eat), but it was always worth the wait!
I was excited to read on In The Taratory and Tales of a Confectionist that Up 2 U had opened up in Belconnen and that they offered hot pot, so we trundled along armed with a pretty decent Livingsocial voucher that enabled us to hot pot for $15pp.
Upon entering (facing Lake Ginninderra), I was surprised the the restaurant was reasonably small, and for a Tuesday night it was pretty busy. We were seated in their upstairs/mezzanine section, which was a bit quieter and better for talking.
The menu had some interesting choices like the clay pot rice, but we were here for one thing only! On the separate hot pot menu, you tick which broth/s your table would like and which meat/seafood options you want. You can tick as many as you like, but I think they adjust the portions of each selection depending on how many you choose (i.e. if you only tick everything, you won't get much of each!). We went for a hot and spicy broth, the laksa, and the simple pork bones broth.
After a few minutes, our broths were brought up and set down on our individual electric hot plates, which were easily controlled by a dial on the side of the table. Then came our selections - beef, pork belly, prawns, cuttlefish balls, octopus, fish balls, and some udon noodles. I was pleased to see that the beef was really thinly sliced (which is the proper way to have it so that you only need to dunk it in the hot broth for about 10 seconds before it's cooked), and even though it was frozen it was still delicious.
The best thing about Up 2 U is that they have a communal vegetable table where you can keep topping up on vegies. There's some stock standard stuff there (broccoli, wombok, spinach, pumpkin), but also some more exotic things like wood ear mushrooms, shitake mushrooms and these fried gluten balls that collapse down as soon as they hit the broth and soak up all the flavour. There's also a selection of noodles, and a myriad of sauces and condiments on the communal table - so there's no excuse for your food being bland!
After about 20 minutes of eating, our hot pots had reduced down to almost nothing - but the staff come past with jugs of boiling water every now and again to top them up.
Overall, we had a really nice experience here. It was something different and fun; and the food was good as well. Apparently they're open until something like 2am - I'm assuming more for the international students at UC rather than the Lighthouse crowd looking for a feed!