Cooking up a storm in Shanghai
The first time I walked into Cook restaurant at the Kerry Hotel in Pudong, Shanghai. I knew two things. One: I had to produce the video that accompanies this story and two, I had to do my darndest to try every dish on offer.
The vast length of cooking stations, with all the delights Asia and the West can offer cooked before your eyes, many with flames exploding, steaming dishes being rushed back and forth lends itself to video – over even the talents of a literary Gigantor like me.
And the variety of food lends itself to Asian style communal dining; it really is the way to go (hint: you get to try more dishes before you fill up rather than crouching over your own bowl like a Frenchman).
If you like living it large, Lunch style, and as I’m fond of saying, if you’re reading this then I have a hunch that you are that kind of person, then this is for you.
Deep breath: there is steamed clams served with garlic bread – in a word, tender and juicy. I ate too much and I’m afraid I rather hogged the dish. A massive serve of sashimi served on the ice: whiting, the freshest tuna I’ve tasted, salmon of course and lobster tail. Technically not sashimi, because it was cooked, but I understand you can ask for it raw. Anyway, it was all extremely fresh, the freshest. The oysters are from Australia so I doubled down on them.
Then skipping a few stations it’s barbecue: duck, pork, and suckling pig. I’m afraid I made a bit of a pig of myself with the goose.
The trouble with the food here is it’s all so good. And so is the beer. The icy cold Brew Pils is served in double glazed glasses. I mean there are two layers of glass with a vacuum in between. Leave it for 20 minutes and it’s still ice cold, unlike at home (unless you live in the tundra) – where you would have to find a noisy moment to palm it off on the help. Then it’s back to the Asian section for some Singapore chili crab.
I get some implements but it turns out I don’t need them, the crabs come pre-cracked and are the best I’ve had, and yes, I’ve been to Singapore where I spent weeks searching for the perfect chili mud crab and beer combination. Stop and get a picture of the untouched crab dish (meaning I forget to) to show to your mates back home. Let me assure you: It will be many a long day before you taste its like again.
Too full from the crab? Don’t let that stop you from grabbing another house-crafted Brew beer. The Cook is for dining with people who like to live it large -Lunch style – and there is something to satisfy the fussiest eater, so anyone with any complaints should be dropped off before you get to the Kerry.
I’d like to take this opportunity to invent a new word – tableality – a mixture of table and conviviality. You know the person where, when you hear they are coming to lunch, you smile and think this will be a good one. There is also the opposite – the anti-luncher – or someone with low tabeality.
Lunches are about great food and wine, awesome company and the exchange of ideas in a collegiate atmosphere.
There are occasions when we are all saddled with an anti-luncher, apparently recruited from the nearest lunatic asylum after she slipped out of her straitjacket, to stop the rest of us having a good time.
I'm not necessarily saying this happened at this luncheon, but let this serve as a warning for all Lunch readers when it does happen.
If you do happen to be with a blue nose wowser who doesn’t enjoy living it large, and gives you the hairy eyeball every time you order a beer or wear out the tiles going to grab some more chow, here’s what you do. Go to the restroom and stare into the mirror, breathing hard through your mouth. Then give yourself an uppercut – it’s time to man up and bring this termagant into line. Then go back to your table, grab the crazy shrew and hustle her into the nearest broom closet – with any luck she’ll find a ride home in there.
This advice will stand you in good stead all your life, not just at The Cook, but everywhere; if you tread on eggshells around mad people then pretty soon you’re just crouching in the corner trying to be as quiet as a mouse peeing on cotton wool, lest you upset the crazy person. No my friends, that’s no way to live your life. Get some more chili mudcrab, live it large, you can never be quiet enough for some .. shudder … people. So don’t bother. Grab another beer. Rustle up some more lah jouw* Better yet, slip on your finest finery, it’s time to make some outrageous claims, in short; there’s lunching to be done, and when there's lunching to be done The Cook in the Kerry is the place to do it.
No.1388 Hua Mu Road
T: (86 21) 6169 8888
Short URL: http://www.lunchmag.com/?p=3349