Date night along Tongren Lu, is certainly not what it used to be, most of the facades along this stretch of Tongren Lu have had a facelift more than once over the years, and that's just the buildings.
Tucked away at the top end of the street and almost hidden from view is the entrance to Bloom, which I am told has been open some six months now.
One enters along a long narrow strip, that has tables for diners placed along next to shrubbery, and in the background the glowing spire of the Russian Exhibition centre, which makes for a great backdrop for all the Millennials out there taking selfies.
One is initially greeted by a host, at a stand which is in fact not near the entrance to the restaurant, you pointed in the general direction of the opening of the sliding glass door where you enter the main dining area of Bloom, which reminds me of a potting shed with all the plants surrounding the walls, there is an open bar and open style kitchen, you also greeted by a cacophony of noisy diners, perhaps due to all the hard design elements, coupled with service staff rushing around like worker ants, finally we are spotted and shown to a table for two, along a side wall with a montage of greenery, the area is far too dark to read the menus, thankfully ones all-purpose smartphone is to hand, it would have helped had restaurant staff seen that a number of the spotlights were blown.
Started off with looking through the drinks list, normally it’s a couple of glasses of white to start, followed by a couple of glasses of red would have been our norm. I stopped at just the one glass mediocre non-descriptive Spanish Sauvignon Blanc and minuscule serving at that, it’s what one would have at a wine tasting event if studying for a WSET exam, and an exorbitant price, I was nowhere near Waitan, quaffed the sample and moved on to a couple of bottles of Pilsner Urquell.
On to the menu, like so many places of late that have opened in Shanghai you are offered a menu without any form so to speak. After reading several other sites where punters have posted comments, we thought that we would go the same route, what could go wrong, if this were elsewhere one could be in breach of the trade’s description act of 1968 as to what was actually served.
Wild Sour Dough Bread: Actually, baked with whole wheat flour, not a hint of springy sourness to be had, whipped butter nothing sour about the butter as described either.
Pulled Pork Head, Purple Sauerkraut, 5 spice: more like a mini scotch egg minus the egg, and the purple sauerkraut was nothing more than red cabbage, nothing sour about this dish, slightly underwhelming.
Wagyu Beef Tartar Nasturtiums Emulsion: nothing special about mush that lacked seasoning which is served on a very impractical wobbly plate.
Charcoal Beef Tongue, Lemon Grass, Spicy Tomato sauce: Chewy cubed tongue, served with what I would say was more a Harissa style thick tomato sauce which overpowers the taste of the tongue.
Aged Venison, Heritage carrots, Sherry Glaze: aka silvers of soggy venison, and a bitter dressing, the venison reminded me of the stage where one has just marinated strips of beef to make Biltong.
If one reads down a menu, then one expects the dishes to be served in that particular order, sadly not the case.
Service was slow and erratic, certainly not offering any advise of what to eat, may I suggest you have this or that dish. Had to keep waving to get attention when the beverages were getting low, no upselling of beverages and served tepid tap water, no offer would you like to see the dessert menu.
For four meagre dishes, a plate of bread, three beers and a sampling of wine which was over chilled, all yours for 763RMB for two pax.
Shanghai diners must have more money than common sense, but then common sense is not very common these days, the venue is for the masses.
SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.