Trying to separate yourself from the mass of red and blue lights on Tongren Lu is not an easy task. First time goers will inevitably pass by the likes of Blue Angel, Manhattan and Ecstasy Club while looking for the address of our dining location this time, Red Beat, which allows for some time for some not-so-nice preconceptions.
Red Beat tries to set itself apart from the seedy rest with an entrance that is hidden through a hallway whose lone elevator only sports two buttons: RB and G. It serves as a buffer from the professional greeters of the other nearby establishments. But upon arriving in the main space, there’s a sense that Red Beat’s not so different from its neighbors after all – there’s a half regulation size stripper pole attached to one of the tables. A Filipino band, talented as always, plays rock covers of Alanis Morissette and 90s hip hop.
The menu is based on typical bar food, with some efforts more impressive than others. The Red Beat Burger (70RMB) came with an intriguing slice of beet and a fried egg, but the traditional Cheeseburger was nothing but a patty and a slice of American. The beef in both, while supposedly Australian, tasted overly spiced and processed, like the kind of meat you find at summer camp cookouts.
More impressive meat was found on the Salt and Pepper Beef Skewers (40RMB), which were made with a good portion of very tasty and thick steak, pink in the middle and charred on the outside. Grilled with marinated peppers and onions, they were a pleasant surprise.
Similarly surprising was the Greek Salad (50RMB), which came with a tart and well salted olive oil dressing. The salad leaves were fresh and neatly arranged. The Fat Garlic Fries (30RMB) were also good, prepared with high quality potatoes and diligent spicing. The beer menu, which contained the usual bottled Australian exports: VB, Crown Lager, Fosters, Pure Blonde, helped to balance out the greasiness. Each could be had for 40RMB.
It is obvious someone knows good food and beer, but the overall feeling we got was that Red Beat just wasn’t quite consistent. Service was slow, though that was probably because this was a preliminary round of Red Beat’s food industry experience.
With some vetting of the menu, a little more effort on the burgers, and some time, Red Beat may indeed find its stride.
Red Beat, 72 Tongren Lu 铜仁路72号, Tel:86 21-62790338
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