This venue has closed.
Perched on the second floor of a nondescript building on Anfu Lu, Oriental House is doing something different. Food aside, Chinese restaurants tend to hit one end of the aesthetic spectrum – grimy hole in- the-walls or blinged-out, tuhao-to- the-max dining rooms. Oriental House has arrived to fill the empty space in between.
The ambiance is chic and
sophisticated, with sleek concrete
and natural wood touches. You can
imagine kicking back with a pre-dinner
cocktail on your first Tinder
date (or your once-a-month date
night away from the kids).
And in fact, you should get a drink.
The bar programme, run by Allen
Peng formerly of The Nest, boasts
a selection of signature cocktails
like the tasty Aranyaka (75RMB).
With raspberry puree and cassis
liqueur, it’s rich and fruity with earthy
undertones from mushroom-infused
rum. You’ll want Peng’s riff on a
Bloody Mary –
the Sea Marry
wasabi – to
than it is.
by Weihua Lin,
8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo
focuses on refined
adaptations of classic
Chinese dishes with a touch of
fusion and plating that is emoji-100.
A clever play on traditional tea
eggs, an order of petite rum-and pu’er-
tea-marinated quail eggs
arrive in a wooden box nestled in
‘dirt’ with a small bird figurine. Panfried
dumplings (88RMB) have been
stuffed with wild snapper and give
an elegant twist to the quotidian
potsticker. If it’s country fair food
you’re after, look no further than
the flower-adorned Shunde buffalo
milk rolls (38RMB), which seem to
be Shanghai’s answer to the deepfried
Twinkie. Zhejiang preserved
vegetable meigancai (梅干菜) has
been mixed with minced pork,
covered with cheese, then baked
(38RMB). It’s unusual
quite hits the mark.
Unless you’re gifted
with the most nimble
of mouths, the tiny
bone-in chunks of
meat in lajizi-esque
spicy chicken with
peanuts (50RMB) will
prove a pain. And curry
okra? Great idea, but
the reality is a bit of an
incoherent mess, topped
with minced pork (25RMB).
Sure, it’s not perfect,
but Oriental House offers
an indication of where casual
Chinese dining might be heading
– or at least where we hope it
By Cat Nelson