Spicy Mafia is the sister restaurant to popular hot pot chain Morals Village. Main difference? They cater to a younger, hipper crowd, and instead of it being all-you-can-eat, it’s now priced upon the number of portions ordered. Did we mention that they also serve noodles at Spicy Mafia?
The menu cleanly outlines the steps involved in ordering your mini hot pot combo: you pick a soup base, some staple food, some meat, and some dipping sauce. The basic combo comes included with the aforementioned items alongside included toppings, while ordering additional items cost extra (e.g. additional meat, seafood, soybean made dishes, etc.). A similar process occurs if you wish to order a noodle combo instead. There are also recommended snacks to order alongside with drinks.
The restaurant is smaller than Morals Village, but the decor and vibe more than make up for the lack of space. Graffiti-like murals are painted on the walls, with popular hip-hop tunes being played in the background. Having a mini hot pot to yourself also lends to a more personalized and private dining experience, alongside with the fact that you no longer have to hear the complaints of those with picky preferences that would otherwise be sharing a hotpot with you at other hot pot restaurants.
We were able to sample a few of their most popular soup bases, such as the Signature Spicy Soup Base, the Housemade Pork Bone Soup Base, the Chinese Angelica Soup Base and the Sweet Tomato Pork Bone Soup Base. A few of the soup bases originate from Morals Village, but the rest are exclusive to Spicy Mafia. We found the soup bases to be true to their name: the ones with pork bone had a strong and enjoyable taste and smell of pork bone soup, while the spicy soup definitely had a lot of kick.
The staple food (aka noodles) were overall solid, but nothing stood out in particular. The meats, meanwhile, were consistently above average in quality, texture and flavor. We really liked the fact that all 3 types of meat (New Zealand Spring Lamb, Pork Slice, and Certified Angus Beef Slice) were cut with consistent width in slicing, and were all very tasty and flavorful. This is a stark contrast to other hot pot restaurants where you may find only certain meat dishes to be enjoyable while others are not as fresh or are cut too thin. Another minor complaint is that even though the meats were sliced rather generously in thickness, the number of slices per portion being served were inconsistent; plates of beef had 5 slices whereas plates of lamb only had 4 and sometimes pork was served with 6 slices!
The dipping sauces were also overall solid, but the fact that only 2 dipping sauces are included in the combo and each additional sauce costs $0.50 means that if you enjoy mixing and matching various dipping sauces, you may have an increased bill. Another thing we enjoyed was the included toppings; they were served in a large bowl and were quite plentiful in portion. This means that you could get quite full just from eating the included toppings, but if you were more hungry or had a larger appetite for meats, again you may be looking at a larger bill.
For drinks, we had the Fresh Watermelon Juice and the Creamy Thai Coconut Slush. The watermelon juice was fresh albeit just a bit bland to the flavor. The coconut slush, however, was a standout winner but it should really be identified as more of a milkshake than a slush, so don’t get confused with the drink description and the actual drink itself!
For snacks, we tried the Chinese Hot Pepper Chicken (Szechwan Special), the Chicken Nuggets served with Tartar Sauce, and the Fried Pork Chop also served with Tartar Sauce. The chicken nuggets and fried pork chops were crispy but rather average in juiciness and flavor, but the accompanied house-made tartar sauce served as a good complement and flavor booster. Chinese Hot Pepper Chicken was also smooth and juicy, but we felt that the chicken flavor was overpowered by the Szechwan sauce.
Overall, we enjoyed the experience at Spicy Mafia and felt that it was a solid addition to the hot pot scene in Toronto. One notable concern to keep in mind is that if you’re very hungry and you want to order more than what’s part of the combo packages, watch out for an expensive bill! Otherwise, if you want to simply enjoy hot pot without having to stuff yourself at the typical all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurants, you can do so at your convenience with a lighter bill at Spicy Mafia.
20 Gibson Drive, Unit 111A, Markham, ON L3R 0M7
Our meal at Spicy Mafia was complimentary but opinions are our own.