When you think “global cuisine” you might picture fusion-y fare that by trying to please everyone, ends up satisfying nobody. Fortunately, Crazy House and Bar’s wide range of pan-Asian noodle and other dishes do their respective cuisine’s justice to an extent. And the Chinese staples are quite good.
Decor and service
The decor is understated with bare white walls, rectangular stools and chairs, all in a narrow space – very Bauhaus. This subtlety is unfortunately nullified by the clientele, who seem to embody everyone’s nightmare of Nouveau Riche China – fake eyelashes like BX cables, fur coats made from god knows how many Himalayan yetis, and kids that evoke those princelings you see on the US news getting bailed out after a doing a hit and run in their Lamborghinis. The staff is thankfully cheery and on-the-ball.
All in all, Crazy House and Bar offers a passable, if slightly forgettable cross-section of dishes from all over Asia. You start by choosing from a lineup of mostly Chinese appetizers, including jellyfish (50RMB), and the recommended fried shrimp cakes (30RMB). The shrimp in the latter were muffled by a fried carapace so greasy you could use it to start a fire on a desert island. Skip them. Go for the pork kidneys in sweet soy, which for reasons that elude me, are labelled “sliced beef and ox tongue in chili sauce” (35RMB). False advertising aside, these were some of the best kidneys I’ve had in a while; tender, fatty, and leached properly, so they didn’t have that acrid essence of urine that plagues most renditions.
The go-to is noodles, which are confusingly listed under the heading “lunch set” even though they’re offered for both lunch and dinner. An Olympic committee’s worth of countries are represented on this menu with selections like Thai “Tom Yung Gong Seafood Noodle” (68RMB), “Foie Gras Noodle” (98RMB), and “Home Made Beef Noodle” for 68RMB (basically pho). The pho comes with a colorful variety of ingredients, including beef stomach and beef balls, but the broth is a bit too wimpy to bind them together. The Tom Yung Gong is more vibrant.
Fortunately, there’s a safety net of tasty, well-portioned Chinese standbys like Sichuan-style bull frog (98RMB) and chicken with chili sauce (68RMB).
Crazy House and Bar’s Pan-Asian noodle dishes are passable homages to their motherland fare, but the chef’s talent clearly lies in the Chinese mainstays.
Crazy House and Bar – 88 Wuyuan Lu, near Changshu Lu (五原路88号, 近常熟路). Tel: (0)21-6416-1603. Hours: 11am-10pm.
See a complete list of our reviews here.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].