Here’s the low-down on the latest action-
The Beef: Owned by the wagas group, Pelikan has made a bit of name of itself filling a niche in Nordic cuisine. You can’t miss the neon Pelikan outside, and once you enter the dimly lit restaurant lends itself a cool chic vibe with palm fronds wallpaper and splashes of hot pink. The first thing my mates got excited about was the gin cocktails menu – great start! We then went with a bunch of starters to share. The disappointment came in when the dishes arrived – portions were barely enough for one person, not to mention sharing? 88RMB for one scallop sliced to share and two chicken wings? I’ll admit the combo is intriguing, but it was a lot of hot smoke – literally (they uncovered the clay pot at the table for the smoky fume effect). Admittedly, the tidbits were all tasty - venison tartare, broccolini salad.
We ventured hopefully onto the mains for some substance but alas, more disappointment. The grilled lamb dish came with one puny potato and 3 morsels of lamb (pictured). The seabass was equally lacking and flaky (in the sense that it never even showed up). I'm all for fine dining portions but this was a bit (not) much. No wonder Swedes are so svelte! While on compliments, the charred beets were fantastic – a standout side.
The Motive: Group dinners. It’s a casual place but the dinner crowd draws a dressier bunch. Men in suits, ladies in dresses. There were only a few tables at dinner that evening, mostly laowai – perhaps a similar crowd to those you would see at mr. willis (also part of the wagas family).
The Damage: 500+RMB/person including a few cocktails. Cocktails from 75+RMB, starters from 88RMB, mains 138RMB-548RMB for Angus beef ribeye. The problem, however, isn’t with the menu prices. It’s with the portion shock that comes when you receive your plate. Like, that’s…a "main"?!
The Down n’ Dirty: Not awful but the level of décor and cleanliness is not on par with what I would expect from a restaurant within this price range. If I’m paying 500+RMB for a meal, I want to be going in style.
Because it was Friday, I decided that I deserved to sample a new bougie lunch set near my office. Pelikan runs a lunch deal for a starter + main for RMB 138 or a starter + main + dessert for RMB 168. I obviously went for the three course lunch because I’m worth it. I started with the Kale and Figs and ordered the Cod and Peach as my main. Everything I ordered felt healthy but also quite sweet. I can’t say that I totally expected cod to go well with peaches, but I was also pleasantly surprised there. The dessert was the star player, though. The Milk and Honey was a whole lot of honeycomb, and I’m all about that crunch.
The restaurant itself is lovely inside and offers diners a tropical vibe, which was just what I needed as it is getting colder. Overall, the place was trendy but also very comfortable. It wasn’t too crowded around lunch time, and the service staff were very friendly and attentive. I’m not sure if I’d want to pay the full menu prices to come back around dinner time, but the lunch menu does offer a lot of options to get to know Pelikan for a cheaper rate, and I’ll certainly be back.
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