We always enjoyed Gourmet Cafe’s playful creativity when it came to its selection of burgers. Thankfully, they’ve transferred that same sense of innovation to their doppelgänger; a noodle house on the flip side (literally and menu-wise) of the beloved burger restaurant but still under the same moniker. For those diners that constantly grapple with simultaneous east-west cravings, Gourmet Cafe now gives them the best of both worlds.
Actually, to characterize the selections on the noodle side of the house as strictly Eastern would invariably be incorrect. Its panoply of noodle dishes reflects a cornucopia of regional influences. The menu itself required some intense digestion. After nearly developing a head-ache deciding between the Mexican chili pork dry noodles (45 RMB), the Moroccan lamb kebab soup noodles (55 RMB), we blindly chose the hearty lamb stew (68 RMB), which turned out to be a mixed blessing of slightly tough and overcooked lamb chunks with tender and delicate egg noodles. We fared much better with the sweet glazed pork rib over Shanghai noodles (65 RMB), heartier and softer and with a slight kick from the red chili and scallions. The miso glazed monkfish with soba noodle salad was also tasty, though a bit lukewarm. Surprisingly, it was a non-noodle appetizer that got us excited: the crispy crab balls (38 RMB), which were small but oh so good.
When we dined there Gourmet was still testing out its noodle chops, but service and style were still very much in order. We’re not joking about that menu either; we heard it being described as incredibly “involved,” with recipes and ingredients familiar to us from other cuisines tossed and mixed together into a huge grab bag of choices, each sounding completely delicious. Just as the burger side started out feelings its way but finding its footing, we expect no less from its noodle half. It’s Gourmet, after all.
Gourmet Cafe – 457 Shaanxi Lu, near Beijing Xi Lu (陕西路457号, 近北京西路) Tel: 5213-7033, Hours: 12pm-11pm
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.