It is no secret that I am a big fan of China Restaurant Week. During my early days as a foodie, thanks to China Restaurant Week, I was able to visit and sample restaurants that were usually too expensive for me to visit normally to order a la carte. That case is still true until today, and even more so now that they have well over 200 participating restaurants, with nearly 200 in Shanghai itself.
– This was an invited preview tasting of the China Restaurant Week 2017 menu at House of Roosevelt, Wine Cellar
– Until earlier this year, I used to work as a defining role at DiningCity, the organisers of China Restaurant Week.
Thanks to DiningCity, a couple of my friends and I got to sample the China Restaurant Week 2017 menu at House of Roosevelt Wine Cellar. This is the first time that Wine Cellar is participating in China Restaurant Week. The menu at House of Roosevelt Wine Cellar is only available for dinner, and costs RMB 278 per person.
Owned by the American presidential Roosevelt family, House of Roosevelt is possibly one of the classiest and most exclusive buildings on the Bund, with one of the best views of the Pudong Bund skyline.
Wine Cellar is located on the 2nd floor and is the largest wine cellar in Shanghai, housing over 4000 different wines.
Each and every bottle of wine at Wine Cellar are kept in temperature controlled cabinets, with the bottles you see ‘outside’ purely for display purposes only.
We also had a tour into the hidden wine cellar, which not only housed the most prized of wines in the building, but also the private collections of famed members. The entire hidden cellar is temperature controlled.
The decor of Wine Cellar is very posh and classical. This is one of the few times I will not consider the decor of a restaurant modern, which is not a bad thing, considering how much history and character the building has.
The decor of the restaurant is definitely great for impressing business associates and the girl of your dreams. 9/10
As this was an invited tasting, an unbiased score of 7.5/10 is provided. Its worth noting that our service was impeccable. They say that the best service are the ones where you don’t feel the servers are there, yet everyone is attended to at all times.
What truly impressed me was that for every course, everyone’s plates arrived and were uncovered synchronously at the same time. This is a very traditional fine dining thing, and it was kind of grand to see our courses for the 6 of us being uncovered at the same time.
For the dinner menu, we had a choice between two starters and two mains. We ordered one of each and shared between two persons.
Smoked Salmon with Balsamic Dressing and Cream Cheese Pita Roll
I admit, I only read smoked salmon on the menu, and totally missed out the ‘roll’ at the end. Therefore I was quite surprised when I saw a measly wrap on the table.
I have to say, it was quite an underwhelming start to the meal in such a beautiful venue.
The pita roll tasted mostly of the pita, which was really like a flour tortilla. Flavours of smoked salmon were detected, along with the creaminess of cream cheese, but one wouldn’t be able to enjoy the quality of the smoked salmon, within the wrap.
I would have been happier if they would just serve 3 slices of smoked salmon with a caper berry. 6/10
Wild Porcini Mushroom Soup with Black Truffle
Thankfully, the mushroom soup was much more refined than the smoked salmon starter. It had a silky smooth mouthfeel, and strong prominent flavours of porcini mushrooms, with that whiff of black truffle when first served. This was one of the better mushroom soups that I’ve had in recent memory. A piece or two of porcini would have helped elevated the soup even more, and/or an actual slice of truffle. 8.5/10
Pan-fried Seven Star Ocean Perch with Fennel Puree and Lemon Baby Leaf Salad
I wanted to be different and not order the steak course for once, so I opted for the fish. The fish arrived on a glass plate, looking very odd. When was the last time you had a main course served on a glass plate?
Anyways, the dish was simply a small filet on sauce, with some leaves as garnish.
The fish was fresh, no doubt, but under-seasoned. Paired with the fennel sauce, it was actually, quite pleasant. However, the portion was too small, the lemon baby leaf salad was non-existent.
I felt the dish could use a bit more side components, just like how the steak had potatoes and asparagus. This was unfortunately a 6.5/10
Australian Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Ragout, Grilled Baby Potatoes and Asparagus
The tenderloin also arrived quite petite, but thankfully was well compensated for in flavour.
Ours was cooked perfectly medium with a smokey crusty top.
The beef had a good strong beefy flavour, reminiscent of grain fed beef, and was a pleasure to eat.
The accompanying mushroom sauce, as if the beef needed any, was creamy and managed to have infused a lot of mushroom flavours.
The side components of potato and asparagus, while not spectacular, were appreciated.
The only sad thing about this dish was that it disappeared into our bellies too, too soon. 8.5/10
Panna cotta with Fresh Mango
Dessert came in the form of a pannacotta on a plate, the way I prefer them to be served. It shows that the panna cotta has been made well enough to hold its form, you can never tell this when they are served in a container.
The panna cotta should also be slightly wobbly, as was this case of the one at Wine Cellar.
I liked the fresh mango flavours, along with the silky vanilla from the panna cotta itself. The fruits were fresh and thankfully not sour (though not very sweet either).
I thought the dessert was a pleasant and fitting end to the meal, warranting a solid 8.5/10
All in all, the China Restaurant Week menu at Wine Cellar was still quite good, if you order correctly. If you had read the review correctly, you would know that to have the best experience this round at Wine Cellar, choose the mushroom soup and the steak.
The average check in House of Roosevelt Wine Cellar is usually at least 500RMB per head, so China Restaurant Week is a good opportunity for one to experience the sights and smells of the restaurant at only a fraction of the usual cost. Bookings have already started, book now at www.restaurantweek.cn or download the DiningCity app on app stores.
Let me know if the comments what you thought of your China Restaurant Week 2017 experiences!