Husk is always busy. I’ve now been for dinner there and, although I enjoyed the meal, I still can’t fully fathom why it’s so popular.
The positives: it’s fairly well-located on a small street just off West Nanjing. The interiors are stylish. There’s a ground-floor decked terrace, which is always lively during the summer. The food is fresh, it all tastes good, and there are some brunch/lunch sets on offer.
This place still left me a little cold, though. I have some questions.
Firstly: why is such pedestrian food so expensive? We paid 592rmb for a small Caesar salad (although it wasn’t advertised as such), a stingy seafood plate, half a (dry) roast chicken and some wine. There were no issues with the flavours but there was nothing particularly exciting going on here, and the portions weren't exactly generous.
Secondly: why are there no vegetarian or vegan options on the menu? If you’re looking for a veggie main course, your options are the bread basket, a couple of sides, and perhaps a soup. I understand the concept of supply and demand, but here I am, demanding. Please supply, Husk.
Husk is a classy but distinctively safe restaurant. It’s in a handy location if you’re shopping or working around West Nanjing. Expect well-presented but predictable food, and bring your own sandwich fillings if you’re vegetarian.
I have been in love with Husk since the first time I tasted their brunch about a year ago, but when I started a new job by West Nanjing, I entered the wonderful world of Husk lunch sets. At RMB 138 for two courses and a drink, it just might be the highlight of my work day. While the price is a bit steep to be doing daily, I like going once a week when I'm feeling bougie. It's absolutely worth it, and I leave feeling ready to conquer the rest of my day. Well, I leave feeling full and happy, at least.
After four hours of starting at a computer screen, the exterior of Husk is a welcome sight with its adorable garden entrance and relaxed color scheme. Once inside, the restaurant is upscale but not pretentious. They are also currently on Chope, so you might as well make a reservation to collect those Chope discount dollars--but lunch time isn't so busy that a reservation is necessary.
The meal itself is quite heavy for someone who has another four hours of work time ahead of themselves, but I'm a grown woman, and I know what I'm doing. My favorite lunch combinations are the Grilled Calamari with hummus and red wine vinaigrette to start and then ordering Gnocchi with cheese, bacon, fried egg, and tomato sauce to really feel like you ate well. I also highly recommend the Crisp Sesame Shrimp Salad with radicchio, feta, and cucumber as well as the Braised Australian Lamb Shank. I'm a champion, so I managed to finish it all, but the average lunch-goer might have to take home some leftovers. All lunches are accompanied by warm bread and an olive oil and tomato sauce for dipping. Wash it all down with a Rose Lemonade or Cucumber Kiwi for the full set experience. A third course can be added which takes the price up to RMB 148, but I think dessert would make me fall asleep at my desk after waddling out of the restaurant.
The service staff are friendly and attentive, and I highly recommend popping in from work when you're feeling fancy on a Friday. Or any day for that matter. Husk also offers brunch, dinner, tea, and a fairly priced happy hour suitable for any number of occasions.
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