It's five o'clock somewhere.
After months of waiting and renovation, there is finally a new Thai restaurant in LuJiaZui! The interior design of the restaurant made me feel like I was in a resort hotel in Phuket. There were a lot of greeneries and Halloween decorations all around the restaurant. The restaurant was very spacious and the outdoor terrace area was just perfect for this autumn weather.
Good news for boyfriends and husbands! Have you ever gone on a date when the girl sits on the inner side of the table, on a sofa with multiple cushions and you are left with a hard cold wooden chair? Don’t worry because ALL chairs in POETS.Thai are nicely padded and cushioned to provide lower back and upper back support. There are also extra cushions on the side in case you want extra comfort.
The nicely padded chairs, together with the extra-long happy hour sessions and the live band, made it the perfect place to chill after work. You are even welcomed to join the live band if your heart desires. Oh, did I mention there are various weekday specials almost every day?
We ordered tom yum seafood soup to start. There was a very wide variety of seafood selection including squid, shrimps, mussels and fish. However, I would think it was a tomato soup if it was a blind tasting. I was expecting the soup to be a bit spicier.
We also ordered green curry with beef as a main course. It surprisingly came before the appetizer. Anyways, the beef was very tender but the curry was a bit too thick for my boyfriend’s likings because he liked to mix his curry with a lot of rice. I quite like the creamy texture of the curry as it came with an extra dash of coconut cream on the top. It really brought out the flavor of the curry. There were also some okras and mushrooms in the curry, it would be nice if there were Thai eggplants as well.
We got a sour and spicy fish for a protein boost. The fish was very fresh and tender but it tasted a little too light compared to the tom yum soup and the curry. I felt like the fish and the soup was cooked completely separately because the fish meat was a bit bland despite all the spices and herbs on top of the fish. The key is to eat with a spoon so you can have a sip of the soup while you eat the fish meat. It was pretty good after all because the fish was really well cooked.
In conclusion, there is finally a reasonable Thai restaurant in LuJiaZui area and I can see myself returning to the restaurant pretty often.
This place was usually jam-packed but I woke up early just to avoid the queue. Dim sum goes hand in hand with hot tea. Never have I ever had dim sum without tea in my life. Much to my surprise, one pot of tea here was RMB 80 and it tasted just like another pot of tea. I think it is the business model of the restaurant to sell really expensive tea in order to create a sense of classiness. A pot of tea here was more expensive than a lot of top notch dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong, including TianYi, Western Villa and Summer Palace. I do not mind paying for quality tea, such as when the tea is hand-picked and roasted in small batches in a family run local farm, but the price of the tea here is a bit too far from reality. Also, the selection of dim sum was the narrowest that I have seen, they only included the very premium and photogenic items.
The char siu (barbequed pork) was hard, fat and sticky at the same time. I told the waitress I wanted my char siu not too skinny, not too fat, preferably a bit of both. Half of my char siu turned out to be really fat, and the other half really skinny. Besides, I did not know how the sauce was stickier and thicker than manuka honey. I literally needed to wash the sauce off my front teeth with hot tea.
The hargao (shrimp dumplings) and siumai (shrimp and pork dumplings) were very overpriced and over steamed. The skin of the dim sum was too soft that the entire thing just fell apart the moment I tried to lift it up with chopsticks. One reason for this was the size. One hargao here was two hargao-s elsewhere, it was almost as big as my tempo. Logically, the steaming time had to be longer than usual but the skin was not any thicker or dryer to withstand the steam. Although a customer would find it satisfying to see such a big hargao and the sheer amount of shrimps, people tend to forget the meaning and core values of dim sum. Dim sum is meant to be delicate. We are looking for delicacy and quality, instead of size and quantity.
The cheung fun (steamed rice rolls) were very photo-genic because it was rare to be able to see the fillings through the rice sheets but it did not take me long to understand why. Usually, the filling is rolled into the cheung fun at the very beginning so the filling ends up in the middle of the cheung fun to provide a balanced texture. None of the sides should be too thick and the filling will not fall out easily during handling because it is wrapped by 2-3 rounds of rice sheet. However, this restaurant put the filling into the cheung fun at the end of the rolling process. Therefore, there was only one layer of rice sheet barely covering the filling and there were 5-6 layers of rice sheet below the filling. It tasted just fine but it was very annoying that the filling kept falling out.
The best dish was actually off the dim sum menu. It was steamed razor clams with rice noodles and garlic. It was well cooked and fresh but, again, extremely overpriced. The tofu skin rolls were the most horrendous of all because I could only see and taste a thick layer of fry batter but not the tofu skin. It was so oily that I could not even finish one piece.
In short, it was not a very satisfying experience. At this price level, there are a lot better options in Shanghai.
Who doesn’t like hot pot in this chilly weather, but would you pay RMB 5,000 for it? I did and I am going to tell you all about it. Faigo Seafood Hot Pot is situated at a heritage building in the Rock Bund, the moment I stepped into the building I felt like I travelled back in time and I almost regretted not wearing a qipao.
The service was beyond excellent. We had our own private room and a personal butler. This was the most sweat-less hot pot experience I have ever had because the butler was cooking for us the entire night. For once, the steam from the hot pot was not ruining my makeup and my hair and clothes did not smell like grease and spice after. When we didn’t need the butler, he did not run away and serve other people. He stayed right at the door so we did not need to scream and wave like a maniac for his service. Aside from the butler, I had another waitress greeting me right when I stepped off my car and running for anything that I needed, ranging from charging batteries, iPhone cables to cushions. There was even a bathroom attendant turning on the water faucet and pouring soap on your hands. If you want to feel like a king, this is the place that you should go to.
The soup base is extravagant. Faigo is known for its golden chicken and fish maw soup, which is an absolute collagen boost. There were a lot of molten fish maws in the soup and a plate of 10 big fish maws on the side. My skin felt softer than a tofu after this meal. The chicken flavor was bold but far from overpowering. Besides, we also got a spicy soup base. Note that this is not the kind of place for ultra-spicy and tongue numbing experience simply because the meat and the seafood is just too fresh to be covered by too much spice.
We mainly came for the geoduck, marbled beef and hand beaten beef balls. Fresh geoduck is quite uncommon in Shanghai and a lot of people don’t know how to cook and appreciate it. As a matter of fact, a lot of people don’t even know what it is. Thin geoduck slices like this should only be cooked for 2-3 seconds and cooked geoduck should not swim in bowls of condiments because geoduck has a very slight hint of umami that it is like a subtle breeze of sweet air coming out of a candy shop. If you prefer an explosion of umami or if you are a heavy sauce dipper, I think other shells or fish is more suitable for you.
The marbled beef was not wagyu grade but it tasted just like it. It had the perfect balance of fat and meat. It was very tender but I did not find it greasy at all. One thing I did not like was that the beef curled up too much when it was cooked so it secretly caught a chili in it that set my taste buds on fire. Besides, the curled up beef just looked very over-cooked although it was not.
A lot of self-proclaimed hand beaten beef balls in the market are actually machine beaten and there is only one test to it. If you bite the beef ball and the beef ball bites back at you, it is hand beaten. The beef balls were very bouncy and juicy and I believed they were genuinely hand beaten.
On the side, we also got iberico pork slices, shrimp paste balls, goose intestines, fried tofu skin rolls, bamboo mushrooms, tofu and winter melon. I found the iberico pork slices a bit over-marinated and too thick for hot pot. I don’t eat organs so I couldn’t give a personal remark on the goose intestines but my friend said it was one of the best that she has had. Other side dishes were pretty standard.
For drinks, the selection was pretty narrow and extremely overpriced. We ordered the cheapest red wine which was RMB 888 and I did not think it was worth it at all. We also ordered a jug of papaya juice which was not sweet enough and was too thick. It was almost a puree than a juice.
All in all, is it worth it? If you like fish maw and seafood like I do, absolutely yes. If you are a red meat lover, maybe you would like to go to other places at a fraction of the price. After all, you can bring down the price by at least a thousand by not ordering the red wine and too many side dishes like I did.
This pet friendly café has a very unique design. The indoor decorations have an industrial touch but the outdoor area looks very modern and simple. Strings of light bulbs and lots of bamboos in this newly renovated house made me feel like I wasn’t in Shanghai. This place is usually very full, so be sure to reserve a table ahead of time.
There are free flow drinks for only RMB 198. You can choose from prosecco, rose, lager, ale, house red wine, bloody mary and gin and tonic. You can drink all you want from 11am to 3pm. We waited for quite a while for the food, but none of us can complain with a glass of bubbles in our hands. The only bad thing is that the bathroom is upstairs, so be careful if you are tipsy. Just don’t fall off the staircase and remember, “it’s five o’clock somewhere”.
Surprisingly, there are quite a number of vegetarian brunch options such as smeared shitake with feta cheese. I don’t usually like mushroom but this dish was seasoned perfectly with the tomato sauce. I almost felt like I was eating a fish fillet. Another friend of mine ordered avocado toast with poached eggs, she told me it was very delicious.
My friend ordered egg benedicts with smoked salmon and it was standard. I think the eggs were a bit overcooked, the egg yolk was barely runny at all. The distribution of salmon was awkward because one egg benedict had a thin string of smoked salmon but there was a thick patch of salmon in another egg benedict. It made food sharing a bit embarrassing because we ended up disfiguring the nicely stacked egg benedicts for even distribution of smoked salmon and also because we were a bit drunk already.
I ordered burger and fries and it was a taste bomb. The patty was very juicy and the cheese was melting. I like how there was a slice of bacon for the extra saltiness and some peppery rockets to add another layer of spiciness to the burger. The fries were fresh and scotching hot. It wasn’t oily at all and it made me wonder if the restaurant used an air fryer or did they just make their fries in really small batches to make sure the oil temperature is high enough and the fries are always fresh.
If not for the vegetarian options and the free flow drinks, it is just another standard and safe brunch place. In general, it is a nice place to get drunk with your friends in the afternoon.
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.