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  • As it was Friday and date night, I looked forward to venturing to another new venue in town “The C-House” I have not come across many restaurants that tout their Group Vision on their menu’s, in this instance CP Group offers you a “new high-end western restaurant”. The C-House restaurant “from farm to table” tagline (yawn)

    This new restaurant took over the former Capo location on the 5th floor Yifeng Galleria off of Beijing Dong Lu, the venue is adjacent to what was Muse night club, with a total revamp, looks like they kept the Bull and tarted it up somewhat.

    The table was booked for an early dinner, upon arrival there did not appear to that many diners, in fact pretty bare I would say, however, escorted to a table for two, right next to another couple who were halfway through their meal, there were plenty of other open spots, but no can do lah!  Low and behold not ten minutes into our meal, another two pax were seated next to our table, whilst there were at least another 8 tables vacant and remained so for the entire duration of the dinner, so much for a cosy dinner.

    When I say table for two, one had a seat at the correct height to table ratio, the other seat a bloody banquette arrangement, no back support, much lower seating, fortunately, some rather large thick scatter cushions were lying about, I took one, and sat on throughout the meal, I also had to pull the table away from my regular dining partner, so I could be comfortable, “so much for the CP Group offering you a “new high-end western restaurant”.

    Generally speaking, one wants to be seated in an area of the dining room, away from the banging of the kitchen door, side stations, and away from the din that goes on. Our table was directly opposite the open plan kitchen, where one could see the cooks go about their business, with the main man barking the orders that came in, we could have done without this.

    As is our regular practice, we start off with wines by the glass, the list has a very limited selection and opted for the following wines:

    Eden Valley Riesling. Now Eden Valley is one of Australia’s premier cool climate wine regions characterised by its rugged beauty and varied topography, sadly a typo from the CP group, as they list the wine as coming from Umbria in Italy.

    Which brings me on to the second choice of white wine ordered from the wine list, a glass of Podernuovo a Palazzone nicollo 2017 Umbria, when in fact the wine comes from PoderNuovo, which sits in the southern corner of Tuscany, splitting hairs perhaps, but damn well get these details correct.

    On to the rather limited food menu, three pages which included a page of summer specials, which frankly were not that special.

    The following dishes were ordered

    I am always game for a terrine or in this case a French Pie, listed as Duck meat and wait for it, fioe gras, yes, a spelling mistake, and sadly the dish was not available, one assumes this was terrine, but one will never know.

    So, went for the French Classic Beef Tartar, that arrived with what looked like a nuked heavily coloured egg yolk, nothing to write home about I am afraid, sort of odd colour and mushy with a distinct lack of seasoning.

    Spanish sardines that are listed as a dish from the snack menu, why would you have a snack menu listed within the three pages of a “new high-end western restaurant” menu, I don’t know, despite being tinned sardines the overall dish was fine, lacked some seasoning though.

    Ordered the Crispy Bullfrog, I have had many a Bullfrog since living in China, these were more like smaller Frogs legs in a batter, dunked in a rich parsley sauce, extremely tasty and highly recommend.

    For the main course, not much to choose from so went with a Wagyu Beef fillet with correctly spelt foie gras, but not the Waygu…..Need I say more, ordered this rare, came more medium-rare, total lack of seasoning on the fillet.

    Grilled Red Snapper, served with a nondescript white wine sauce on the side, nothing to write home about I am afraid.

    When I see Homemade French Fries on a menu I am always curious to see what these are, as I have this vision of hand-cut potatoes, parboiled, then blanched in dripping and finished off at 190c, I know a glutton for punishment, I ordered a bowl, these fries were nothing more than frozen chips, which were served before any of the above dishes, with a small bowl of ketchup.

    Ordered additional wines, again by the glass. The Fix, a Shiraz from Jeanneret Wines from South Australia, for an Australian Shiraz this was pretty dire, rather weak, certainly not what I was expecting. Whereas the Twinwoods Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River was delightful, and finally a glass of Aspirant de Beychevelle Saint-Julian 2016 from Bordeaux, generally speaking, I give Bordeaux wines a miss as they just don’t travel well, this was actually pretty good, a bit pricey, all wines were of a decent pour, and served at the correct temperature for a change.

    To end the meal, wanted something sweet and par for the course the usual Shanghai chocolate dessert portfolio was offered, with one solitary lemon tart breaking up the choice, there’s Lemon tarts and Lemons tarts, and this was not one of them I am afraid, I should have quit whilst ahead.

    From the days of the previous incarnation of Capo, I recall that the venue had an outside terrace, not a great skyline to view, but nevertheless an area where one could smoke, and to round off the evening ordered a margarita, which came in a champagne saucer, the drink its self was rather weak, for myself I was looking at a malt whisky, however CP Group list’s wiskey instead, so ordered a Tom Collins the first of which was spot on, the second-order, as if water was served with gin, what irks me of late is this nonsense and fad these days of saying I’ll have the mixologist make you this or that…..what happened to having a bloody good barman of old, who knew what they were doing.

    Whilst a great way to spend a Mid-Autumn date night, the waitstaff were friendly and smiling, not the most efficient though, more reactive than proactive, the overall dining experience from a food perspective and the cost was a let-down, damages for the evening 1,982RMB, for two pax.

    In closing the CP Group need to get someone who knows what they’re doing to operate this venue, otherwise, another white elephant, for the devil is in the detail, which is sadly lacking here.

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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.