This meal was actually booked by my friend, who invited me for lunch. I’ve never heard of Pinnacle Peak steakhouse prior to this, and i must say, their name sounded quite appealing.
I was even more impressed after seeing their introduction and RMB78 lunch menu on Restaurant Week. Unfortunately, it was really just a mediocre ¥78 lunch.
Pinnacle peak boasted that they use only Tasmanian beef imported from Australia, and that their steaks are grilled over Mesquite charcoal. That was the main seller for me. The ambience was supposed to be a ranch house, old country western bar saloon kind of establishment.
Located on the 5th floor of City Hotel, on Shanxi South Rd, the location was easy to find. Upon entering the restaurant, I received a very country western vibe, with the electric bull riding thingy at the centre of the restaurant, it felt like a cheesy version of Hooters and Hard Rock Cafe.
At 12:30pm, the restaurant was quite packed — mostly Shanghai Restaurant Week diners.
Upon being seated, I was asked what I would like to drink; Soft drinks or orange juice. I went for the OJ, which was a bad choice because it wasn’t even bottled OJ. It came from some powder or concentrate, and was watered down till almost as bland as water, and then, topped with ice. The cordial we had back in the army was much tastier. My friend’s Sprite was similarly watered down. Is this the standard I should accept for a ¥78 steak lunch?
A single piece of baguette was offered for each of us, and it tasted like it was toasted back in 1947. No butter or any seasoning was available. Ok ok, this is a ¥78 steak lunch, gotta make do.
A short 5 minutes later, our waitress arrived with our starters: a ‘russian soup’ and garden salad. The thing that pissed me off the most, was that we were not greeted for our starters, nor informed or spoken to in anyway. She simply came with the plates, laid them on the table, and left.
Second thing that pissed me off, leading to this very critical review, is the manner at which she placed the starters. Kindly refer to exhibit A below.
To be honest, I’m quite speechless as to why she would place the salad at the side of the table, the soup at the top edge, and nothing in the center if we weren’t expecting our mains immediately. It really felt quite retarded sitting there, watching the plates get placed anywhere but infront of us. ¥78 value service I suppose.
Salad was very uninspired, just some lettuce and spinach with some mystery brown sauce poured over it. Only ate a few pieces. I guess one can’t be too picky for a ¥78 set lunch. 3/10
The ‘Russian Soup’ was actually a hong kong tea cafe style borsch soup. Sweet and leaning towards a sour tarty finish, not sure why, assuming its because of fresh tomatoes. It was OK for a Hong Kong style borsch, but incredibly out of place in a western steakhouse. All that said, I guess for ¥78, you can’t be too picky. 6/10
Shortly after, our steaks arrived. I had very high hopes for the steak, because of them being marketed as Tasmanian organic beef grilled on Mesquite charcoal. One thing that we missed on the menu, was that this was actually a surf and turf, a 220g sirloin served with a ‘Fried Poached Sloe (Sole)’.
I was dismayed when I laid eyes on the plate. It was a ugly mess of 2 thin pieces of steak, doused with black pepper sauce, sitting on a scatter of frozen vegetables beside a limp and pale piece of fish. We weren’t even consulted on how we would like our steak done. This was evidently a Chinese-style steak — One that has been sliced thin, marinated and tenderised.
It was definitely not a sirloin; Sirloins are long in shape, and have a strip of fat at the side.
Nor was it a ribeye though the shape might have passed for one; Ribeyes are round, and have an ‘eye of fat’ in the middle, and sometimes around the sides. It’s generally a fatty cut.
It was a mystery! There were abit of tendons at the side. I’m guessing it might have been a skirt steak.
As I had said, it was 2 thin pieces piled on the plate. Thankfully, the steak was pink in the middle and was tender (though artificially so). Smokey charcoal flavour? Nope. Subtly sweet beef flavor? Nope. The steak barely tasted like beef, though I must say the sauce that covered and overpowered everything was an OK Chinese black pepper sauce, nothing artisanal of course.
The fish was scary, because it was limp with a soft pale batter. It didn’t tasty fishy, but was crumbly-mushy upon cutting; Signs of a frozen fish fillet. The white starchy sauce didn’t do much flavor-wise. To be honest, I was starting to fear what might happen to me later in the afternoon when I would write this review. I didn’t bother with the frozen vegetables. Come on, a dollop of mashed potatoes would cost similar, and be much more refined. What can I say? This is a ¥78 steak lunch. The meal made us full, so I guess its job was done. Would I be back? Hell no. I can go to Saizeriya if I want some asian-confused steak. 3/10
Next up on my whine list: Dessert was served as I was trying to finish my sole. Again, in the same cold manner; Waitress just came over, looked for a possible spot that could fit the bowl, and placed the bowl of Coconut sago cream, right between my unfinished salad and my main plate.
I’m sorry, is this the complimentary sauce to go with my fish? Because I’m still eating the fish and am having trouble finishing it. *calms down* *reminds myself that this is a ¥78 surf and turf lunch, and I should be grateful*
A stupidly small teaspoon was given to sip the coconut cream, which was de rigeur. I might have thought more highly of it if there other dishes had been of higher quality, but alas, I am already wary of every and anything this restaurant offers. I had a few sips, and called it quits. My dutch friend who was less picky with his food gulped down the entire thing from the bowl. 6/10
In conclusion? I will never be back to this restaurant ever again. Unfair? Maybe. I actually saw some of the pictures of dishes from this restaurant, and they looked decent.
Therefore my conclusion is that the restaurant was trying to save as much money as they could in offering a ¥78 set lunch, by giving diners the cheapest possible quality of food available for that price, so they wouldn’t make a loss.
What Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse did was exactly the wrong way to participate in Restaurant Week, because you are guaranteeing your first time visitors to never return again.
Initially, I was expecting the steak to be good because of the cheap/simple selection for starters and dessert. I would’ve been fine with that. Give me cheap but tasty starters/desserts, but give me a good quality steak. But no, it was consistently cheap.
Another option you could have done, do away with the silly piece of fish, and upgrade the steak, with mashed potatoes. Frozen vegetables with steak? COME ONNN.
Up till now, I still reminisce that Restaurant Week lunch i had at Pelhams, where a simple 3 course meal was served for ¥178, but it was so damn good that it’s often on my mind, and that, is how you succeed at Restaurant Week.
All that said, today was the first day of Shanghai Restaurant Week, which lasts from 4th – 14th September 2014. Book your restaurants now at htttp://www.restaurantweek.cn. Most of the top restaurants are already fully booked, but you might still grab some good deals at the other ones.