If you look at reviews of Bund restaurants, every second or third critique will complain that the food is overpriced. “Expecting more” or “not worth the money” crop up more times than we care to count. And we completely relate–not everybody has a corporate account to rely on at mealtimes and a perfectly good tasting meal can be tainted by the price tag. So you can imagine what an injection of fresh air it was when Shook! opened up on the 5/F of the Swatch Art Peace Hotel and introduced their lunch set at the low price of 88RMB.
For 88RMB (no service charge) you’re served two courses with tea or coffee, easily making it the best-priced lunch on the Bund. Midday dining anywhere else with a straight on view of the Pearl Tower and it’s upwards of 200RMB at the very minimum.
It’s not only the pricing they’re doing differently. Chef Kevin Cape and his crew prefer a playful approach to cooking–mixing Japanese, Southeast Asian and Western flavors. The lunch menu carries three daily rotating options for each course and regardless what region of the world you’re feeling, they’re likely to be serving something that will tickle your taste buds.
We sampled several lunchtime dishes and were impressed with the gazpacho and hearty salad which both carried balanced hints of Southeast Asia. The steak sandwich with a side of potato chips was also a winner. The Indian roti curry wasn’t quite as good–the meat was the right degree of tender, but we found the flavor middling. However, even when flavors fall slightly short, it’s easy to be charmed to pieces by Shook!’s smooth service anyway.
The restaurant is somewhat of a sight to behold. It’s stylishly outfitted, on one side is a classic view of across the river, the other, a state-of-the-art open kitchen. If you like your lunch with a side of history, their private dining Chiang-Soong room (seats around twelve) is where the two historical Chinese figures celebrated their engagement. And a little event known as the First Opium Conference took place at the hotel during the turn of the century.
Then there’s that tremendous rooftop of theirs. We’ll have to wait another two months to see that officially opened and that’s a whole other post. However, enticing and reasonably priced dining on the Bund–it can be done!
88RMB // 12 noon-2:45pm // Shook! // 5-6/F, Swatch Art Peace Hotel, 23 Nanjing Dong Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu (南京东路23号5－6楼,近中山东一路) // 2329 8522