Pan-Asian cafe, lounge and restaurant serving mainly Thai and Korean food.
The buzz: A Shanghai restaurant with a difference. This café, restaurant and bar (with oddly Germanic name) sits on the stretch of Huashan Lu where nothing much happens. It’s just across the park from Dada and Anar. The décor is predictably minimalist and “urban” (exposed ceiling pipes, concrete walls, etc.) but has some interesting touches, like the wall of trumpets as you go in, and the shelf of Mrkt products for sale by reception. The café takes up the main area, while the lounge is on the left in a sun room, and the restaurant is tucked around a corner to the right, past a wall of wine bottles. Tables are spot-lit, and waiters in casual black saunter around.
The food: When Korean and Thai food share a menu, it’s difficult to predict how things will go. However, Chowhaus has employed two executive chefs from Bangkok and Seoul (Wirat Phakot and Lee Sang Ik respectively) to keep things authentic. We started with the deep fried potato croquettes with tartar sauce (28 RMB), which were decent but unremarkable. The tartar sauce was more of a mayonnaise, and could have done with being tangier to perk up the potato. The crispy chicken noodles in yellow curry sauce (38) came as a gorgeous creamy laksa-like soup. We expected great things of the pan-fried kimchi dumplings (28 RMB) but they could have been tastier. For mains we tried the beef bulgogi (78 RMB) and the pad Thai (48 RMB). The flavor of the bulgogi was just the right side of sweet, and the pad Thai was as good as any we’ve had in Lapis or Coconut Paradise. The only downside was the scarcity of prawns – only two (but decent sized). As a side-dish we went for the asparagus with cheese and bacon that, although not discernibly Thai or Korean, was delicious.
The drinks: Since when did it get so expensive to squeeze a couple of oranges? Paying 38 kuai for a glass of juice when many of the appetizers cost less is slightly galling. Juice is juice, right? However, the fresh pandan juice was pretty good. Switch to wine by the glass to feel like you’re getting a better deal. House red, white and rose go for 58 RMB a glass, and there are some decent bottles for under 200.
Why you’ll be back: The Chowhaus is a decent option for a mid-range dinner. We paid just over 300 RMB for two starters, two mains, a side and two fruit juices. Add wine and you’d be looking at more, but all in all it was a good, reasonably priced dinner. We went on a Wednesday night and it was medium busy, so we reckon it will do well.