Shake is largely well-known for two things: its live music and its cocktail menu. The (frustratingly) small dance floor is always (frustratingly) crowded, but the house band and/or special guests always make up for it. Shake’s food offering, though, is passed over by most patrons. To me, it seemed a superfluous addition to a very competent bar. I gamely gave it a go, though, for the good of the SmSh readers.
The menu is a little confused, in every sense. There are myriad small plates and sides (tautological) on offer, with no real cohesion. The food is broadly Asian-influenced: roasted chicken in a sticky, kaffir-lime-infused sauce; crispy wings with a tang of fish sauce and chilli; a steamed soybean meat pie on rice, topped with a poached egg; lightly-seared tuna tataki. There’s a South American selection, too: pulled pork crispy tacos, for example, and a light, ceviche-like salad. (I refuse to actually call it a ceviche because it wasn’t half limey enough.) “Disco” fries come loaded with various meaty toppings, including a teriyaki tongue option.
Really - it almost all tasted good (with the possible exception of the rather pungent steamed soybean meat pie, which divided the group). The crispy pork tacos were a highlight and, although some of my friends weren’t so enchanted, I thought the wings were great. The fish seemed a little under-seasoned, but that’s probably only because it was casually served alongside heavy red meats in heavy red sauces.
My main issue here is that it’s all quite unbalanced. If you’re going to serve a menu of small plates for pre-dance mixing and matching, they should all complement each other. At Shake, the flavours were a little too dissonant. Teriyaki beef tongue fries thudding down next to a light and subtle tuna tataki? Not my kind of party. Also, the beers start at 60rmb and you can’t find many drinks under 80 kuai, which pulls up the price considerably.
I’d recommend the disco fries or the wings for a little preshow bite. I wouldn’t visit again for dinner, though.