I had never been to Roadhouse before. I always saw it when popping into Sofia for pizza on Beijing Xi Lu, but for whatever reason never gave it a try. On a cold, rainy weeknight in December, the lighting looked enticing, and it did turn out to be the perfect place for a quiet and cozy meal. The name doesn’t really give away what kind of food you can expect, but the menu is predominately Southeast Asian cuisine. It’s also got quite a list of craft beers ready to enjoy. Whether you’re in for a quick cheap beer or down to enjoy some Asian fusion, it’s not a bad spot. Western options are also available, so there’s a little bit of everything you could want to snack on at a bar.
I opted for a vegetarian curry. It was creamy and warming on a cold night. I also appreciated the prices here, as I was really full for under RMB 50. The cocktails and drinks are also really fairly priced, ranging from RMB 35-50. It’s rare to find such a good meal in a restaurant for this price in Shanghai, and there were a number of cheaper things on the menu. They also have an event space in the back and an overall nice vibe.
The full name of this Malaysian restaurant is "Roadhouse by Awana", indicating that it is a rebrand of of Awana which used to stand at the same location. The restaurant is an uncommon (for China) mix of bar and dining, reminiscient of the "bar and grill" style restaurant so common in North America. The big challenge for these places always seems to be whether they adjust their lighting to be more like a bar or a grill, but Roadhouse struck the right balance there - not too dark but not overly bright either. Unfortunately it wasn't ideal for this reviewer to take well-lit foodie pics, but oh well...
We came here craving Malaysian, so we ignored the first 3-4 pages of Western food and skipped right to the Malaysian specialities. Here, we ordered the curry sampler, housemade fried tofu, and the char kway toew, along with a side of coconut rice. The curry also came with roti. The food came out at a very good pace and we had everything on the table within 10-15 minutes.
The char kway teow was the first dish we tried, and unfortunately it was the low point of the meal. We found it a big soggy and mushy, seemingly having either too much oil or overcooked noodles or both. Flavor was good, but it was a poor comparison to the char kway teow we had enjoyed before in Malaysia. Final score 4/10.
Fortunately the other two dishes were absolutely excellent, meaning that Roadhouse still gets a 5/5 from me. That should tell you how good the curry and tofu were!
The curry sampler included chicken, beef, and seafood. None of the three curries were spicy, and all flavors were unique from each other and well-crafted. The chicken was an assam curry with mellow and balanced tamarind flavor - delicious. The beef was a richer curry that I couldn't quite identify (I should have asked!) but was definitely different from the chicken and also full of flavor. It seemed a little closer in flavor to one of the more mellow Thai curries. The seafood curry was a dark brown color that I've never seen in a curry before, and the flavor was strangely somehow reminiscent of some kind of Western cuisine. It may have been my imagination, but it reminded me of what you'd taste in a savory steak suace - lots of onions and mushrooms. All three were great though, and the accompanying roti was light and flaky. 9/10.
The house-made tofu was also a winner. Big chunks of delicately fried soft tofu, with what appeared to be an egg-based fried crust and a light, sweet sauce. Other diners have raved about this tofu on other review apps and I think it's well deserved. Also 9/10.
I ordered a mojito as well, just to try out the bar portion of their establishment, and that was ok. Nothing special, but not bad either. 6/10.
Final damage was 219 CNY for two - good value for this part of town. All things considered, we'll definitely be back.
We don't have any events listed here right now. How about you submit one?
I'm not on SmartShanghai.com dating yet. Join Now