The Top Line: One hit wonder? I think so. This restaurant has a lot of hype, constant long lines for it’s dinner service but it really missed the mark for me for one reason – food not worth its price.
The Review: It looks like a contemporary casual restaurant with its bright lights, brick wallpaper and window panes. It does feel like you’re eating at a communal home, which is what the restaurant name suggests. It suggests homely food that has been passed down from generation to generation. But when you open the menu, you’ll find that the dishes are quite pricey for what is supposed to be home cooking. It’s actually fine dining disguised in its casual atmosphere.
The menu is predominantly inspired by the Shanghai cuisine but does have influences from other parts of China. We ordered a classic Shanghai cold dish to start us up.
Mixed cold platter came with pickled cucumber, Shanghai-style marinated salty fish, and marinated cold cut pork. The pickled cucumber was very interesting, not like a pickled german gherkin, but has a very distinct braised shanghai-nese flavour. The fish was yummy but the pieces were really flaky and too small that it became hard to pick up with a chopstick – LOL, that’s a bit of a problem. The cold cut pork had a nice flavour but it was a bit too cold, because there was a bit of fat jelly in between each piece. Overall, this dish was an okay way to start your palette but it came at $19 and the portions were rather tiny.
This was the dish of the day – although it still had its flaws. 9 buns for $9.80! That’s better than most dumpling stores. But I have suspicions that these came frozen into the store. The buns were beautifully soft and fluffy but rather thin. There was no soup inside the bun, which is a tell-tale sign. They were all rather dainty and pretty but when talking about substance, it fell way short of restaurants like ‘Taste of Shanghai’.
The flavours of this pork, bamboo and chilli stir fry were there and it would be a perfect dish to pair with a bowl of warm steaming rice. Not too spicy, just don’t eat the chilli!! But I would’ve liked to see more bamboo in the dish!!
It’s always nice to have a cleansing stir-fry of vegetables. In fact, this is not the dish we wanted, but due to mis-communication, this is the one we ended up with. It was cooked as nicely as bok choy could be cooked (I’m not a fan of bok choy) and the flavours were lights and subtle. However, considering you can purchase a bunch of bok choy for $0.70 at an Asian supermarket, paying $14 for this dish was way too much.