Chop Chop Club [Shanghai]
A Heaven for Thrill-Seeking Meat Lovers
Address: 2F, Three on the Bund, #3 Zhongshan East 1st Rd, Shanghai
Phone number: 5308 5399
Style: High-end with a casual twist
Price: 500 RMB / person
My ranking: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ + 0.5
Value for money: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Will I visit again: Absolutely
Ever since moving to Shanghai four years ago, I’ve been on a mission to try out all the restaurants that are worthy of exploring, whether they’re brand new or have been around. By now, I’ll have to say I’ve been to pretty much all of the nice restaurants in town. You can call me the Bund Girl just because I used to go to the bund for dinner dates at least twice a month. But that was back in the days when I was single and ready to mingle. Now I go once in a couple of months, if I’m lucky. And what exactly is the bund? Shanghai is basically divided into two big pieces of land, Pudong (on the “dong,” or east side of the river) and Puxi (you can figure this one out). The area along the river is generally referred to as the bund. And you can find most of the high-end, Michelin starred restaurants on the Puxi side of the bund.
Three on the Bund is probably the most-visited building out of all that are on the bund. Well, at least I go very often. I used to go to Mr and Mrs Bund for the food and the view, but that was years ago. Recently I haven’t been super impressed when I visit. Everything is good, but that’s all, it’s just good. If I’m gonna shell out 500 RMB per person (that’s 70 USD, just FYI) I need to feel like I’m eating diamonds. Oh, that’s not including the bill on alcohol. Anyway, I decided to go back to Three on the Bund last weekend because there’s a new restaurant in town! And the reviews seem promising! It’s owned by Chef Paul Pairet , who is arguably THE most famous chef in Shanghai! One of my favorite food bloggers (Sugared & Spiced) vouches for it! So I guess those are good enough reasons to pay a visit.
So I made a call for a reso and was able to get one for two weeks later. Not too bad. Considering that most new, hot places in Shanghai have a wait-list of like a month. Since the place seemed to be somewhat casual despite its location, for my outfit, I opted for a simple black top with a chocker neckline completed with some skinny jeans and heels. And my outfit is not photographed because I was running late to dinner. Fail. Yes, I know.
My first impression walking into the restaurant was that it looks like a gentlemen’s club on the countryside. And I have no idea what a real gentlemen’s club looks like because I’ve never been to one, but I’ve always imagined that it looked like that. The restaurant is actually inside another restaurant. Like those Russian dolls that are placed one inside another. The existing restaurant is called Unico, and it used to have a club/bar portion and a restaurant portion. And now it got stripped out of the restaurant portion, and ta-da the Chop Chop Club is born. After we sat down, the waiter came over to ask us if we want to order the entrees first, meaning the meats. “Otherwise they may get sold out,” he said. Wait, excuse me? He motioned to the giant screen that’s on the wall. We were sitting on the other side of the restaurant so I was glad I was wearing contacts. The list shows the dishes available, number of portions remaining and time the dishes would be served. As I was hesitating on what to order, the waiter said “there is only one portion of the côte de boeuf left.” Then I heard myself saying “we’ll take it.” I sounded so cool in my head, like I just won something at an auction. I love how you have to "chop chop" when you’re ordering if you don’t want to starve. The name of the restaurant is very fitting!
Between the four of us, we ordered 3 dishes from The Carvery menu (fish & meat) and a variety of other appetizers and sides.
Onto the food, the avocado crushed guacamole, herbs, toast (70 rmb) was great in my opinion, especially in preparation for what’s to come. It’s so fresh and light and cold, in contrast to the very juicy and heavy meats that will be served soon.
Our Vineyard Chargrilled “Cote de Boeuf” with Bearnaise sauce (650 rmb portion / 1300 rmb full) arrived at 7:30 pm, as promised. It is juicy and tender on the side, yet you taste the heaviness from all the grilling in the skin. The bone marrow on the side is also very good, just a little hard to share between four people. Everybody gets one small spoonful, like splitting a pudding.
Our second appetizer is the charred octopus, ginger, lime aioli (90 rmb), and dare I say this is probably the best charred octopus I’ve had in my life!! My friend said she recently went to the Gucci café in Italy and was impressed by the grilled octopus she had there, but the one at Chop Chop is even better.
We then heard the music of an engine roar, then we were presented with our second entrée of the day: Roasted-Grilled XL Turbot (260 rmb / portion, 1500 rmb / whole). Turbo = Turbot, get it? The turbot is definitely a must-order. So tender that it almost melts in your mouth. Dip in the sauces that come with, and I promise you, you’ll fight your friends for that last piece of turbot on the plate.
And make sure you use the “good olive oil” to dip in, well, everything! It goes really well with the Bertha’s shitake (100 rmb), our third appetizer. It’s literally mushrooms on a wood block. It is grilled as a whole piece in the kitchen. You’ll feel like a farmer while you’re cutting each mushroom off the block with scissors and tweezers. Oh wait, I use those tools when I’m trying to trim my eyebrows, too. Hmm. Those mushrooms are so delish. Naturally so flavorful. Use the olive oil! You’ll thank me later.
Our third and final entrée is the Char-Roasted Chicken with lemon & garlic (180 rmb /half, 340 rmb/ whole). Before the dish was served, we heard a rooster cock-a-doodling. Yep. Think fresh roasted chicken that’s done traditionally, but obviously with better meat quality. It’s yummy, but I was distracted by the side order….charred creamy cauliflower, parmesan (80 rmb). Oh my god, I don't know what to say other than you have to order it!
To wrap up any meal you’ll need desserts, so I ordered the raspberries essential, Jerez, fresh cream, burnt butter (100 rmb). Not too sweet, not too sour, and they don't make me feel too guilty. And they’re yummy! A great way to finish the meal.
In total we spent around 2000 RMB between 4 people (including one drink and the 10% service charge). They give you free water, which is ah-mazing since that never happens in higher-end restaurants in Shanghai. Overall, definitely worth the money.
And here’s a stalker picture of Chef Paul Pairet. There is no shame in stalking.
Since I am not a drinker (my tolerance is two drinks and my face turns into the shade of a bright, red lobster), I didn’t actually order a drink that night. BUT if you drink, Chef Paul Pairet has collaborated with the Unico bar on a few cocktails meant for sharing. They come in a very cute bottle, which is always a bonus.
I’m already looking forward to going back again soon to try out the other meats we didn’t get to. I’m hooked on this game!