Barflow, as a group, has always loved a good gimmick. They put Jagermeister in instant noodles
at their cocktail bar on Shaanxi Lu. They built an entire other bar based on The Grand Budapest Hotel movie and called it the Grand Bar Flow Hotel
. Now they have opened a small Korean pork BBQ restaurant near Popeyes and people are queueing for hours to get in.
is basically a set piece, designed to look like some generic trading or commodities back office from the 1970s, with period-appropriate telephones on the metal desks, filing cabinets used for decoration, and for unexplained reasons, a revolving rack of fake pork parts suspended from the ceiling. The design is fantastic. The staff are all in jumpsuits. It makes no sense. It’s the ultimate in internet gimmickry. And it’s working!
The night I tried to get in there was already a line for their handful of tables just minutes after they opened at 5.30pm, and, the owner claims, it’s a two-hour line for much of the night. Seems like they saw the success of Botong Sikdang
and decided they wanted a little bit of that, so the place serves pork belly grilled on metal plates at your table.
Is it good? Does it matter? In the end, I decided it didn’t, and I wasn’t about to stand in line for two hours to see the gimmick all the way to end. But don’t let that stop you. If you too want to wait for the time it takes to watch a feature-length movie, get a complete full-body massage, or make a chocolate cake from scratch from start to finish including the buttercream icing (all things I’d rather be doing) to sit in a faux-retro office and cook your own food, well, the Pork Office is open for business until 2am.
Bar Flow Pork Office is at 115-117 Chengdu Nan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu / 成都南路115-117号, 近淮海中路.