Good Eats

Home Town 荷唐 Revisited (2021)

Like their neighbours Spring in Shanghai 春在 and Wan Yuan 皖园, Home Town 荷唐 is fast becoming one of our go-to lunchtime place in Raffles City Changning in Shanghai.

Ala Carte Menu

We usually have a large group for lunch (like 8-10 pax) so we would always order some items from ala carte to compliment the set lunches.

梅子”樱桃”西红柿 Iced cherry tomatoes with plum & red wine granite

Very “ceremonial” “仪式感” appetiser, and this is the trend in Shanghai (and in fact China’s culinary scene) these days. Presentation and plating are now part of the judging on whether a particular dish is good or bad. No longer is Chinese cuisine delicious but bad presentation/plating. This cherry tomatoes marinated in plum and red wine was supposed to be a really simple appetiser, usually just put in a small appetiser plate and served. No, you have red wine granite (that ice on top) and lots of dry ice as it was served. Still tasted like marinated cherry tomatoes, but the ladies loved it. Something that was ¥8 now cost ¥38.

菠菜凉皮芝麻墩 Spinach roll, mustard sesame dressing & chilli oil

菠菜凉皮芝麻墩 Spinach roll, mustard sesame dressing & chilli oil

Now, this traditional appetiser benefited from presentation and plating. Blanched spinach with mustard sesame dressing was very common. They took rice paper from Vietnam and wrapped the spinach into rolls and then topped the dressing on each maki-like piece. This made it easy to eat and pretty to look. Successful upgrade.

蜜汁传统叉烧 Honey-glazed BBQ pork collar

蜜汁传统叉烧 Honey-glazed BBQ pork collar

The collar meat was sous vide and then roasted, so it was so tender and juicy and flavourful. But it was also damn salty and oily that you would stop at one piece.

招牌黑椒蒜片和牛 Braised wagyu beef with signature pepper sauce, termite mushrooms & garlic chips

招牌黑椒蒜片和牛 Braised wagyu beef with signature pepper sauce, termite mushrooms & garlic chips

First we did not expect asparagus in this dish, but asparagus always goes well with beef. The beef was cubed (good) and stir-fried with their special black pepper sauce (good). The meat was paired with asparagus and termite mushrooms (wow), and then topped with garlic chips (a bit bitter). We were quite surprised how good this dish was, as we thought it would be just the normal black pepper beef.

鲍汁烧鹿筋 Braised deer tendons with abalone sauce 

鲍汁烧鹿筋 Braised deer tendons with abalone sauce 

It’s a Lu cuisine 鲁菜 technique with leeks and tendons simmered in abalone sauce. The original version would use sea cucumber and actual abalone, but this was good enough for lunch. It’s an excellent dish to finish off those extra white rice.

升级版毛血旺 Confit of offal, seafood, fungus, veggies in Sichuan spiced peppery oil

升级版毛血旺 Confit of offal, seafood, fungus, veggies in Sichuan spiced peppery oil

In the traditional version, it is just a pot of offals, pig blood pudding and luncheon meat cooked in a lot of Sichuan pepper oil. In this upgraded version, luncheon meat has been replaced by sliced beef, and seafood like abalone and prawns were added.

But it was still traditional stuff that were tasty. The seafood freshness was totally destroyed by the peppercorn, you can hardly taste anything except the heat. However the offals and blood pudding rally needed that strong spices because on their own, they could taste pretty bad. That’s why the recipe called for cheap ingredients. Didn’t enjoy the upgrade, should have stuck to the original.

瑶柱蟹籽香芹炒山药 Stir-fry mountain yam with dried scallops, crab roe and Chinese celery

瑶柱蟹籽香芹炒山药 Stir-fry mountain yam with dried scallops, crab roe and Chinese celery

This was the only dish we didn’t like from the whole meal. It was very well executed, but it did not shine as much as the others.

Lunch Set Menu

One of the main reasons why we have made Home Town one of our favourites lunch eateries is their set lunch menus. These are not sloppy, half-hearted dishes whipped out just to attract the lunchtime crowd in a preset menu. These are exactly what they would serve for ala carte except in a smaller portions for lesser people. They have set lunches for 2/4/6/8 persons, and you choose from a selection of dishes, so basically you are ordering ala carte but with less choices and smaller portions according to number of people. It costs less than ¥100 per pax for a really good meal.

香油海蜇香菜鸡丝 Shredded chicken with jelly fish, corianders & premium sesame oil

香油海蜇香菜鸡丝 Shredded chicken with jelly fish, corianders & premium sesame oil

I didn’t know that you can replace the usual mung bean noodles with jellyfish and this dish would still taste as great, if not, even better! The cold appetiser was filled with the fragrance of sesame. The crunchiness of the jellyfish went really well with the rest of the ingredients.

腊味茭白笋黑虎虾仁 Wok-fried fresh cane shoots with tiger prawns & Cantonese pork sausage

腊味茭白笋黑虎虾仁 Wok-fried fresh cane shoots with tiger prawns & Cantonese pork sausage

This dish has always appeared whenever we come here for lunch. Simple dish in terms of technique but unique with its combination of ingredients – tiger prawns, Chinese sausages and bamboo shoots. Very flavourful and excellent as accompaniment to rice.

沙爹肉末烧豆腐 Claypot braised tofu with spicy satay sauce & spring onions

沙爹肉末烧豆腐 Claypot braised tofu with spicy satay sauce & spring onions

A play on Mapo Tofu, but using the Taiwanese satay sauce 沙茶酱 as the main condiment. Didn’t quite like it, but the rest of the colleagues walloped it, again, with lots of rice. Rice was complimentary, so go crazy.

北京经典”酥不腻”烤鸭 Roasted Beijing Duck

Home Town special lunch set billboards the classic “crispy not greasy” Peking duck which have really crispy skin but not greasy because of the selection of duck. Ducks used are around 35 days old. The “cherry duck” feeds on small fish, small insects and soybeans. The average adult duck is 2.3-2.5 kg and only about 800 g can be served from the duck.

The surprise was the popiah skin used for the wrapping the duck. They were separated by layer of paper to avoid them sticking together. Very delicious.

XO 虾酱炒龙豆 Winged beans sautéed with XO sauce

XO 虾酱炒龙豆 Winged beans sautéed with XO sauce

Reminded me of the belachan kang kong in Singapore. Winged beans have gained quite popularity recently given the crunchy texture and good healthy properties. And this tasteless vegetable is excellent sautéed with sambal belachan.

The restaurant was the first foray in Shanghai for a fellow Singaporean, Chef Jack Aw Yong. In Home Town, it’s like a homecoming for Jack. You can find Singaporean favourites like Bak Kut Teh and Hainanese chicken rice, and also classics from his adopted hometown of Beijing like Peking duck, and his culinary roots with the terrine and beef courses. They have since opened one more Home Town in Beijing.

So good to be back in Shanghai! Looking forward to try the one in Beijing.

荷唐 Home Town
长宁路1195号莱佛士广场4号古建6号商铺,T3写字楼隔壁
Tel : (021) 60881677

Date Visited : Jun 2021

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