I heard good things about the original location of Slurp! from friends, so I went in with relatively high expectations. I had never managed to visit Slurp! in its original location over on Wulumuqi Road, but was glad to discover that it had recently re-opened fairly close to me on Maoming Road (close to Weihai Road) so I made the short trip over for lunch.
The location is...cramped. The kitchen itself is all alone on the first floor with the reception and all the seating is on the second floor. The seating area itself was fine, clean and well ventilated with 4-5 small tables, but it still felt a bit claustrophobic.
The service was infuriatingly clueless. We played that game that Chinese restaurants like to play on you sometimes, where they actually don't have 30-40% of the items on the menu, but they don't tell you anything in advance and let you randomly ask for things and then inform you that it's sold out. After I was informed for a second time that a chosen item was not in stock, I asked her to point out all the items on the menu that were unavailable. This is the second part of the game, where the server swears there are no other unavailable items; everything else is fine to order. This is inevitably turned on its head a minute later when you choose something else that's out of stock that she forgot to tell you about.
Silly service aside, this also meant that my top choices (and most recommended dishes online) could not be ordered, so we had to second choices all around, which is always a shaky note to start the meal on. We got the xiao guo mi xian (little pot of rice noodles), roasted tilapia, fried Yunnan cheese, Yunnan mashed potato and pork mince stir fried with herbs and flower buds.
Everything was...ok. The fish had a TON of tiny bones in it, super annoying to eat, but decent flavor. The mashed potato was very good, with some Yunnan herbs folded into the potato. A bit odd to have such a waxy texture to a mashed potato dish, but that's Chinese potatoes for you. The fried cheese was fine - not a ton of flavor on the cheese itself but I liked the rose petal jam for dipping quite a lot. The flagship product, the pot of rice noodles, was pretty boring. Rice noodles don't really pick up a lot of flavor when they're in a broth, so it was all about the broth, which was fine I guess, but didn't really pack any special punch of flavor.
I guess if you're craving a certain type of Yunnan flavor and you live nearby, it's worth a try, but I wouldn't seek it out from afar, and I didn't find myself very satisfied after the meal. Prices weren't too bad; we spent something like 180 CNY for our 4 dishes, so there's a positive. I'll give it a cautious three stars, cause it wasn't bad, but it wasn't really good either. It just...was.
SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.